Emoticons fascinate me, in both good and bad ways.

First up, they are a useful tool if you’re not using the phone or Skype, because they lighten up what might be misconstrued as an offensive remark. This should not, of course, be carried to extremes:

‘What a nasty little trolling turd you are ;- )’

But even if we start from the implausibly optimistic assumption that all tweeters mean well really, it is still a bit sad that our increasing desire to be within pc boundaries means we have to resort to daft yellow grinning balls to avoid seeming unpleasant.

I suspect the problem with this new convention is that it lacks subtlety. And so tonight – exclusively at your Fabidoso Fire-away Slog – I offer some suggestions on how to broaden the dimensions of the DIY emoticon successfully.

30%LOL  I’m laughing out loud at what you just said, but in a way as to offer myself a way back into your favour

$$$xxx I am a material sentimentalist, get over it

>^< This election is heading for a Coalition

~~ ( ) Chill out and take a break while I work on a more engaging suggestion

#  Life is a game of noughts and crosses

↔ This thing could go either way↑

xxx zzz  I love you really, but I’ve had my orgasm and now I’m sleepy

{=}  People facing in opposite directions are equally disagreeable

+ : – ; There are upsides and downsides to this whole thing: it needs more investigation

??? O (  I don’t know whether to be happy or sad about this outcome because you have me confused with someone who gives a shit, but if there’s a shag in it, then maybe I do after all…until xxx zzz

&+  I insist on having the last word on this issue

∏  Anyone for croquet?

Ψ  Warning: Troika Dead Ahead

>>>***o-//   Reach for the stars or die in a ditch

->ooΔΔoo ->  This way to the stoning

ϖ  Venizelos sitting on the fence

<@> I’ve no f**king idea where it’s at

000!!! Zero tolerance

oooooO  It’s all bollocks and that’s official

Enjoy the weekend. [: – )( +- = ???] x ~~%