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It’s the year 2015 and humankind no longer needs words to communicate. All dialogue is now in the form of BuzzFeed recipe videos, gifs, and small yellow typographic facial expressions. Call me conservative, but to save the world from drowning in a sea of emoji-filled irrelevance, you need to stop using one of those wee cartoon faces in particular.
Yes, I’m talking about the cry-laugh emoji. You know the one. It depicts a face crying with laughter, it’s the new LOL for Generation Z, the one you use 500 times a day. This needs to stop.
It takes a certain type of humourous situation in life to make somebody actually cry from laughter. Examples might include: releasing chickens into the end-of-year assembly at the girls’ school down the road; getting caught swimming in your police officer neighbour’s pool with your mate wearing nothing but an elegant women’s one-piece he found on their washing line; your brother getting charged with indecent exposure for pulling a man-gina to an entire grandstand after a hockey game at national tournament. These are all rare moments of unpredictable hilarity that cause one to physically laugh to the point of tears.
Alas, the yellow cry-laugh gremlin is one of the most popular emojis on social media, with Instagram ranking it first in its emoji usage. And I get it, emojis are supposed to convey something that text alone cannot: emotion. But are you really crying with laughter?
For some, it certainly appears so.
From that couple who still reside in your home town, living together in their own house and whose only jokes are each other: “Emma comes into bedroom and says wanna hear a joke about amnesia and I says yes she says sorry I forgot it [200 cry-laugh emojis in a row] had to share this on Facebook so funny – feeling amused with Emma Girlfriend”.
That status about having a such a “messy” night which really just sounds like a 40-year-old’s birthday card: “They say as you get older you also get wiser but I still get hangover so maybe some things never change! [stupid amount of cry-laugh emojis] #happybirthdaytome #22 xxx”.
Some awful list of embarrassing prom memes posted by Fortafy that your friend comments on: “OMG cant deal, @friend that was so us DYING LOL [cry-laugh emoji] [cry-laugh emoji] [cry-laugh emoji]”. Chrysippus, a Greek philosopher in the third century BC, reportedly “laughed too much he died” (Diogenes Laertius 7.185) after lacing his figs with wine to intoxicate a meddling donkey. Random Facebook friend I haven’t talked to since that one time we met at a party several years ago, you, on the other hand, did not die from laughter. As for you, Fortafy, who are you and why do you keep showing up on my news feed?
All of these people infer they are laughing so hard they have started to cry. Perhaps these moments caused a wry smile, maybe even a wee chuckle, from the otherwise straight-faced mundane sadness that is their unfulfilled lives. But uproarious laughter to the point of tears? Unlikely.
Clearly I’m just an overanalytical, self-righteous arsehole who takes social media comments too literally, but just know that as you and your small yellow circular headed friends are crying with laughter, I’m crying with misery.
Tim Grgec is a soy-latte drinker, e-Reader addict, Mom, and foodie. When not writing for Salient he likes to give sex advice and talk about school-zones.