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Get Smiley

February 29, 2012


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.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2012 1:50 pm

    try this one 😐

  2. April 3, 2012 10:39 pm

    It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.
    Rollo May

    A big part of the challenge is the age. Witting or not, we have all become ironists. To be an optimist you have to park your irony at the door — at least in part.
    Wikipedia has it tagged:
    Rorty wrote a book about it:,_Irony,_and_Solidarity

    • April 3, 2012 11:40 pm

      You made my day. Not only does Wikipedia have irony tagged, it mentions there is special (linguistic) legislation pending on whether it shall have its own punctuation. I am for irony having its own country, adjacent to mine, I am not sure in which direction.

      As for Rorty, I have the book and must revisit. Cheers!

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