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Get Smiley

March 1, 2010

Not long ago, my daughter and a friend announced they would form an Optimists’ Club. The small band of pessimists in their classroom was growing and they had to do something. We were in the car.

From the driver’s mirror I winked at them in solidarity.

They observed it was tricky to identify an adult optimist. I said they’re scarce: it’s not easy, and you can’t be a fool.  They asked me to be their advisor.

For fun, they said they like to smile at people who aren’t used to being smiled at. I said this sounded like a good idea for starters, but that one had to be careful. A smile could mean many things.

We speculated about developing a new icon for optimism — perhaps an emoticon? — and optimistic swag (buttons, t-shirts, you name it) to promote their agenda. We talked about how it’s good to look up, but not so much that you let the door slam in someone’s face who is right behind you.

We decided to survey the competition and assessed that existing optimists’ clubs are not enticing to us.

For one thing, there are too many pictures of people smiling. It gets on your nerves.  For another: too much happy sounding talk. Also annoying. There has to be a way to capture the modern optimist: understated, ready to smile but not in-your-face, with a touch of budding irony — crisp, wry, like a cracker. Forgive me, I’m getting carried away.  So now it is a contest: to coin the emoticon that captures the spirit of the modern optimist, and makes everyone — even the ornery — want a piece of the pie.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Matt Nicodemus permalink
    March 1, 2010 3:07 pm

    Why is it that when I see the word “emoticon” I focus on the “con”? My first reaction is that the facial expressions possessed by the ‘new optimists’ are too varied, too subtle, and too beautiful to be captured and frozen in the digital plastic of an emoticon. Best to see such people in the flesh, or at least in photographic images. But if you really want to go with the computer technology, how about coming up with a constantly (though not too rapidly) morphing thumbnail portrait shot, with the different photos being submitted either by people who consider themselves optimists or by others who see them as such? This sort of “thumbnail optimist” could be a constantly growing file, with the latest version being available for download from…the website of your daughter and friend’s Optimist Club!

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