T he other afternoon, while tossing pencils into the ceiling squares at work (Dear Employer, That isn't even a little bit true; the ceiling is pristine, Love, Fritz), I got a g-chat from my buddy, Liz. "Look what I can do," she typed. And then, ding, there it was: square.
On the one hand, that didn't seem like something to crow over; a square is the very definition of uncool.
"That square is super cool, Liz," I wrote back.
On the other hand, I had no fucking idea how to type a square using my keyboard and so I spent kind of a long time typing various combinations of characters back at Liz to see if I too could produce a square.
(that's not it)
[ ] (close, but no dice)
(totally flailing at this point)
"I didn't send you a square, I sent you a goat." she responded. "And are you trying to type out a goat-shape now? Are those horns and a head and goat legs? Because, no. You're on the old chat, dude. Square is a goat on the new chat."
So I upgraded and after 10 minutes of searching, I could see Liz's ever-lovin' goat, but still couldn't figure out how to make my own. "Screw it," I thought. "I don't need to make stupid goats. I'm a writer. I use words to get my point across."
That night, I got a text from my buddy, Dave, who decided to include a wee hamburger at the end of his note. I became instantly enraged, and downloaded three emoji apps onto my phone, after deleting nine other apps and photos of my niece to make room. While doing that, he texted back, ending with two emoji -- camel and gas. "I like to make everything fart," he wrote.
I wanted to make everything fart too. One of the emoji apps finished downloading right then, so I texted him back with horrible anime cat licking its back.
"Downloaded the wrong emoji," I typed. "Can't even find a cloud to substitute for gas." I went home and drank myself into a stupor.
The next day, Liz was at it again. "Let's meet at 6:45, good?" she typed. And then cute goat "Boosh!"
I loved this woman like a sister, but this couldn't go on a second longer.
"FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT'S HOLY TELL ME HOW TO MAKE THE MUTHERSMUCKIN' GOAT, LIZ."
But she had left the chat. Hours later, pouting in the parking lot at work, my editor wandered past and like a good editor/bartender/hairdresser, she let me whine for a few minutes. "Everyone's so cool making goats and camels and all I can do is this stupid cat licking its butt." I texted it to her while she stood there. She promptly texted back cat cat poodle poodle fish but before my head exploded, she grabbed my phone and showed me how to change the languages -- somehow I had Norwegian and Cherokee, but not Emoji.
"Go nuts, Fritz," Fields said as she sauntered away. I grabbed my phone and tentatively wrote her back: monkey bicycle ice cream cone.
I'd done it. But a monster had been unleashed.
"I can't stop making animals gas," I chatted to Billy 10 minutes later.
"What are you talkin' 'bout, Willis?" he responded. Clearly the man hadn't upgraded. It was time for Grasshopper to become the Master.