By Tracy Beckerman
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“Your new cellphone is really cool, Mom,” my daughter exclaimed as she clicked through my phone functions with lightening speed. “And it’s loaded with a ton of emojis!”
“Is that good?” I wondered hesitantly. I didn’t want to sound like an old fart, but I had no idea what she was talking about. An emoji sounded like an aperitif you would have before your emu appetizer in Australia. I was pretty sure that wasn’t the kind of emoji she was talking about.
“Absolutely,” she said. “Look!” She turned the phone to me, opened my text messaging, and began to scroll through my keyboard. Hundreds of cute little pictures appeared.
“Ohhh!” I said brightly. “The smiley face things!”
I clamped my hand over my mouth and realized I had just blown it. In one fell swoop I had failed Cool Mom 101.
She sighed. I tried to recover.
“So, what cool emojis do I have?” I wondered.
She returned her attention to my keyboard and showed me the plethora of adorable images I could insert into my texts and emails to help convey the depths of my happiness, sadness pithiness, boredom, and all other emotions that could never simply be communicated through words alone, especially by a writer.
Contrary to what my daughter thought at that moment, I am actually a pretty cool mom compared with some other moms who can’t even name one Pokemon, for goodness sake. And I am certainly not against adding an occasional frowny face or kissy face when it is appropriate. But as she showed me all the emojis I now had at my fingertips, I wondered what use I could possibly have for.
“A shoe??” I asked incredulously, looking at a selection of no less than ten assorted shoes on my keyboard. “Why would I want to send someone a shoe?”
“It’s just fun!” she explained.
“What’s fun about a shoe?” I asked.
“I don’t know. But people like to receive them.”
“I don’t think I know anyone who would want me to text them a virtual shoe.” I turned to my husband. “Would you want me to text you a shoe?”
“What would I do with just one shoe?” he asked.
“You want two shoes?” I replied.
“Well at least two would make more sense,” he argued.
“I can see that,” I said.
“Can I get them in a size 10?” he wondered.
“I don’t know if they come in specific sizes,” I replied. I turned to my daughter. “ Do the shoe emojis come is specific sizes?”
She was watching us with a look of disgust mixed with disbelief. At some point she had lost control of the conversation and realized that not only were her parents totally not cool, they were actually on the verge of being complete morons.
“Ugh. Just forget it. Forget the shoes. Forget the emojis. Just stick with what you know,” she declared as she stomped out of the room.
I frowned. I could see I had let her down. I knew she really wanted us to be able to share in the things that her age group found fun and interesting. I did too. So I did what any good mom would do in this situation.
I sent her a shoe.
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Lost in Suburbia: When the shoe is on the other cellphone
By Tracy Beckerman