On Being Clueless

Old people like me can be so ignorant of what is happening in the modern world.  I mean, there are some really significant events taking place out there, away from my local Florida swamp, the cranes and turkey vultures.

For example, most of the young “celebrities” who make it on to Yahoo are completely unknown to me.  I don’t know who they are, what shows of movies they have done, why they are worthy of being tagged with the “celebrity” label.

I stopped watching TMZ a few years ago when I realized I didn’t know anyone featured on the show. Doing so probably had a negative affect on my contemporary cultural knowledge but hey!  Who cares?

Another indication of my absence from the real world out there is that I do not own a smart phone.

I still have a flip phone – which I only look at when it rings; you know, like a telephone.  Or when I get a text message.  I do text although it takes a bit of key punching on a flip phone.

I had no idea what emojis were even though I do use the little yellow smiley and frownie face.  I have to punch keys to make them appear in my posts  –  a colon, a dash and the right end of a parenthesis.


And since I am not a big user of emojis and don’t have a smart phone I was, until recently, quite unaware that emojis seem to have evolved into a virtual language.  Oh I knew there were more than two; I just didn’t how many more!  Emojis can’t appear on my flip phone – every emoji sent to me gets “translated” into a little square.  Send me three emojis and I see three little squares.

When I reply and tell the sender I can’t read them I am promptly told “Will you please get a smart phone Toritto!”  And this is from family.

Renaissance man that I am, I have done a bit of investigation into the current use of emojis among the verbally spare and linguistically challenged, many who seem to have adopted emojis as their primary means of communicating with other humans.

Did you know there is an organization charged with developing the unform emojis of the world?

I didn’t.

It’s called the Unicode Consortium.  And according to Wiki, Unicode oversees over 138,000 emojis

The Unicode Standard consists of a set of code charts for visual reference, an encoding method and set of standard character encodings, a set of reference data files, and a number of related items, such as character properties, rules for normalization, decomposition, collation, rendering, and bidirectional display order (for the correct display of text containing both right-to-left scripts, such as Arabic and Hebrew, and left-to-right scripts).

Unicode’s success at unifying character sets has led to its widespread and predominant use in the internationalization and localization of computer software. The standard has been implemented in many recent technologies, including modern operating systems, XML, Java (and other programming languages), and the .NET Framework.”

Who knew?  And I thought they only worked on smiley faces!

And did you know there is a demand for new emojis to express thoughts we once spoke or didn’t speak about?

A single red blood drop is among the list of 59 new emojis announced this week by the Unicode Consortium, the organization in charge of developing the official emojis of the world. And while it’s just a nondescript drop of blood that can certainly be used to mean a variety of things, Unicode’s site specifically lists “menstruation” as one of its associated keywords — a win for women the world over who just want to tell their partners/friends/moms that they’re on their period and have feelings about it.

And Toritto knew nothing about this development!

“This new addition comes on the heels of Plan International U.K.’s campaign for a period emoji following a 2017 survey by the organization that highlighted the ongoing stigma and shame around menstruation among girls and women in the U.K. The results prompted Plan to create a proposal for a period-pants emoji (I guess all you ladies have or had period pants), which was backed by almost 55,000 voters, in an effort to normalize the conversation around menstruation. When the proposal wasn’t accepted, Plan partnered with NHS Blood and Transplant and submitted a new proposal for the winning blood-drop emoji.”

Who knew?  I learn something everyday!

Of note, too, is the new one-piece bathing-suit emoji, which comes after a call for a less sexualized swimsuit than the existing bikini emoji; for more modest users I guess.

And Unicode isn’t leaving men out, either. The new pinching-hand emoji, which is nothing more than a thumb and index finger with little room in between, is listed only with the keyword “small amount” on Unicode’s website.

“And yet. The internet is ablaze because we all know it will likely be used, nine times out of 10, to describe the below-average size of a certain, um, male appendage.”

Unicode’s new 12.0 list comes with 171 variants for gender and skin tone, totaling 230 emojis in all, which will allow for more options to better represent gender identity and race in emoji couples.

And, for the first time, inclusivity of people with disabilities is represented in the new emojis — such as a wheelchair, hearing aid, and service dog — which comes in response to Apple’s March 2018 proposal to Unicode requesting new accessibility emojis.

And I didn’t even know about Unicode let alone that there were official emojis for gender, skin tones and hearing aids!

“While they’re not available for use yet, you can expect to see the new emojis on your phone come September or October of this year. And until then, you can use the “Okay” hand emoji, which kind of looks like the pinching hand.”

I’m so relieved and feel so much better.  Now I propose a new symbol which I can send to anyone, including friends in Italy, that expresses my problem:

“Mi dispiace, ma non capisco emoji!”


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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7 Responses to On Being Clueless

  1. Maggie says:

    Having a career in IT I was always familiar with Unicode. I did not know about all the new emojis although I am sure they will be used incessantly. I prefer words.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re not alone, Frank. I also don’t speak emoji. I’ve limited myself to using just two of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. beetleypete says:

    This felt as if I had written it! I do have a smartphone, but rarely if ever connect it to the Internet. I only use the smiley/sad emoji, and like you, I type it in.
    Even my blog cannot always handle the more complex ones, and sometimes I get those square boxes instead. Like Maggie, I prefer words.
    However, I can see how emojis can become a universal language in some respects, and allow people all over the world to understand each other, with no need of an interpreter.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jennie says:

    The biggest problem with emojis is they eliminate the need for words and writing. That is not a good thing. Who knew all this emoji stuff? I do now. Excellent post, Frank. I do side with your family on the flip phone issue.

    Liked by 1 person

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