Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pros and Emoti-Cons

I evolved sarcasm as a protection, the way roses evolved thorns and for basically the same reason—to keep from being devoured by goats.

As a kid, I was puny. I was slow. I was knobby. I never did climb that dopey rope. I got sick of being bitten by my kid brother, made fun of by my elementary school peers, and belittled by the marauders of Rose Marie Drive, also known as the neighbor’s kids.

“Those are some big-time words coming out of your knobby mouth, puny, little girl.”

When I failed to grow a spiked dinosaur tail so that I could crush human bones, I honed the venom of the cutting remark. Turns out, I had a knack. I raised sarcasm to a high and lofty weapon. What I lacked in brawn, I made up for in perfectly delivered snidery.

My brother later complained that I always “made him feel stupid.”

My mother complained that it wasn’t what I said but “how I said it” that made it difficult to be related to me.

My sister cried. A lot. But that could have been baby-of-the-family issues.

Eventually, I rendered several people unconscious with the savage efficiency of my sarcasm.

“Back away, little man, or I will kill you, cook you, eat you, and pick my teeth with your bones.” And they bought it. It’s all in the delivery: tone, inflection, facial ticks, sneering lip curl, dismissive eyebrow flip.

Which makes this social media/facebooking experience beyond frustrating, but we prone-to-evolving creatures must learn to adapt or die, mustn’t we? Those little faces made out of punctuation marks, while darling, seem so inadequate when trying to convey the depth of my _________________(fill in the blank.) Extra points awarded for originality and the ability to guess what I’m thinking at this very second in time (i.e. mind reading.)

I’m working on a Snark-Code to go with the one emoticon I feel confident typing.

I might write something like:

That idea of yours is close to being what we, in the south, like to call ‘mealy-mouthed.’

Followed by:

(Imagine me saying this while using a comical southern accent and an adorable wink, thus diluting the sharpness of the insult.)

Or . . .

Yes, absolutely, everyone is entitled to ride a unicorn to pick up their happy cash from the big money dump truck of joy provided by all the wickedly rich, rich, rich people in Hollywood and Martha’s Vineyard. (Please envision me rolling my eyes so hard up in my head that I go blind.)

And finally . . .

Wow! (When you hear me saying this single word in your head, draw it way, way out and turn it into a ten or eleven syllables that can mean either cool, fool, yikes, you cannot possible think that’s good/smart/funny/truthful!)

So be warned. I have thorns.

But it’s not all my fault that I’m sharp-thorned harpy, and I’m not really bad.

I evolved this way.

Linda (Spike-Tail) Zern



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