I would not classify myself as an airhead in any way, shape or form but I do have my moments. Yesterday, I noticed how frequently I use the email smiley and it brought back a memory of one such instance of idiocy. I had been utilizing email as a communication device for at least four years before I figured out what the smiley meant. For those of you who may be in the same predicament that I was (and I doubt there are many), this is what the smiley looks like: :) It's little sideways eyeballs and a smile created using keyboard punctuation.
I received email after email with this symbol at the end of a sentence and never quite understood what it meant. I know this sounds absolutely idiotic but I just never took the time to view it from a different perspective and I only saw it as a colon and a parenthesis. I just assumed it was some type of weird email punctuation and, since it never interfered with my understanding of individual email, I let it go at that. Finally, one day several years (literally) after I opened my first email account, it just clicked. I read an email and happened to look at the symbol differently and a light bulb went off in my head. It was a smiley face. What a cute idea!
From that point on I became the smiley queen. I use this little symbol in at least half of the emails that I send out. It is a surprisingly useful but very simple tool that, when used properly, conveys the same thing that a wink following a snide comment in a conversation conveys. This is something that is very difficult to do in written communication so I love to throw a smiley into my emails and, when I do so, I feel confident that the recipient of my email will not take my sarcastic or snide comment too seriously. So for those of you out there who, like me, are in possession of a one-way ticket to the short bus when it comes to email punctuation, I hope this was a useful lesson for you :)