What the world needs now is an ex­plod­ing-head emoji

How else to de­scribe one’s feel­ings about that guy with the face tat­too?

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - SH­ERYL NADLER Sh­eryl@sh­eryl­nadler.com

Hey guys, guess what? It’s my birth­day week (yes, ob­vi­ously I’m tak­ing a full week to cel­e­brate). And I just re­ceived the most amaz­ing gift.

On Mon­day, which just hap­pened to be World Emoji Day ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­net, Ap­ple an­nounced a new batch of emo­jis they plan to roll out over the next few months. Com­ing soon to an iPhone key­board near you: breast­feed­ing mama, guy do­ing yoga, a sand­wich, a di­nosaur, a woman wear­ing a head scarf (among oth­ers).

But my favourites? An ex­plod­ing head emoji and a barf­ing emoji, both of which are tops for ob­vi­ous rea­sons. Which begs the ques­tion: where has the ex­plod­ing head emoji been my whole life? Why in the world has it taken so long for them to cre­ate it? Be­cause the eye roll emoji (at the top of my faves list) can only take you so far.

Take this head-ex­plod­ing story out of New Zealand as a for-in­stance. Teenager Mark Cropp just wants a job, ac­cord­ing to the New Zealand Her­ald. Awwwie, you might be think­ing. An­other sad sack Mil­len­nial or Gen Z-er (he’s 19, so he’s ei­ther one or the other de­pend­ing on who you ask) who is work­ing hard at school and a part­time job to be able to af­ford the ne­ces­si­ties of life like $15 Av­o­cado Toast and daily lat­tes with in­tri­cate foam art that he can add to his Instagram story. But he needs a full-time job so that he can also af­ford ar­ti­sanal beard cream, a prod­uct sorely lack­ing from his life. You see, if that was the case, I’d be good with the eye roll emoji. The eye roll emoji has served us di­nosaur Gen X-ers well in these in­stances.

But Cropp is no or­di­nary young man and his is no or­di­nary story. You see, half of Cropp’s face is tat­tooed. Like, from just be­low the nose, most of his cheeks, jaw­line, chin, across his mouth, all tat­tooed with the word DEVAST8, which is, ap­par­ently, his nick­name. And so, he is hav­ing a hard time find­ing a job, which I guess is what in­spired this head­line from the Her­ald, “‘I just want a job’: Face tat­too inked in jail proves a tricky sell for em­ploy­ers.”

Yes, Cropp ac­quired said tat­too while sit­ting in a Christchurch jail cell, “drunk on home­brew” he cre­ated from fer­mented ap­ples, sugar and bread. The whole be­ing-in-jail for two years part doesn’t re­ally seem to fac­tor into the not-find­ing-a-job equa­tion of the Her­ald’s lengthy story, nor does the (prob­a­bly il­le­gal) con­sump­tion of al­co­hol while in jail. Not to men­tion the good sense it takes to ask some­one to ink half your face while drunk on com­post. All of it is … yes, mind-blow­ing. See the dif­fer­ence?

But it gets bet­ter. Be­cause you might ask, how did Cropp find him­self in such an un­for­tu­nate cir­cum­stance? Well, it kind of wasn’t his fault. I mean, he and a friend tried to sell some fake weed to a tourist and when the tourist tried to back out of the sale, they pulled a knife on him. But the whole thing was to get some money so that he could af­ford a place for his preg­nant girl­friend and him to live (the child is in the care of the New Zealand equiv­a­lent of our Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety), so, you know, that shouldn’t re­ally mat­ter when it comes to look­ing for em­ploy­ment.

As a mat­ter of fact, the Her­ald has a sur­vey em­bed­ded into the on­line story, ask­ing “Would you give this man a job?” Read­ers can hit the “Yes — he de­serves a sec­ond chance” but­ton or “No — the tat­too is too con­fronting.” There is also a “Don’t know” op­tion for fence sit­ters who feel com­pelled to an­swer an op­tional on­line ques­tion­naire on a topic about which they feel am­biva­lent.

But that seems to be the only is­sue here, ac­cord­ing to the Her­ald — the face tat­too. Not the cy­cle of poverty and ne­glect (Cropp grew up in foster care, ac­cord­ing to the story, and dropped out of school when he was 11). Not the fact that at 17, he and his girl­friend were faced with the prospect of rais­ing a child of their own or that he ap­par­ently thought the best long term plan was to rob a tourist at knife­point.

There is a whole slew of rea­sons why Cropp might not be em­ploy­able or might be given a sec­ond shot or might be a good can­di­date for so­cial as­sis­tance. But the face tat­too, while not in­signif­i­cant and a symp­tom of a much big­ger prob­lem, is not at the top of his list of prob­lems.

So yes, we need a head-ex­plod­ing emoji, for sure. For the su­per­fi­cial ab­sur­di­ties of this story but, more to the point, for the cov­er­age of it.

Be­cause fo­cus­ing on the face tat­too is just lazy.

Where has the ex­plod­ing head emoji been my whole life? Why in the world has it taken so long for them to cre­ate it? Be­cause the eye roll emoji can only take you so far.


Move over, guys: new emo­jis are be­ing rolled out over the next few months.

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