I find myself increasingly irked, if not enraged, by this emoji.

It’s supposed to be the second most popular little icon used in Britain (the first is a smiley face) but I simply don’t see why. Indeed it took me a while to realise what people were actually saying when they posting this abomination at me. Had I made them cry? What had I said to upset them so much?

When someone explained that this little face actually denoted “crying with laughter,” my disbelief was tangible. Who actually cries with laughter? Oh, all right, so a few times in our lives we might get a fit of the giggles and descend into tear-strewn hysteria at the most inappropriate time imaginable* but to say several times daily that someone’s little quip or Twitticism actually made one cry with laughter, well, it’s a bit much isn’t it? I’m sorry to be such a sceptical, soggy blanket, buzzkiller, but it that’s all it takes to make you roll around on the floor laughing in helpless lacrimal fits, well, you can’t have much of a life, can you?

It’s like comedy, I guess. As a girl, I was reduced to helpless giggles by the The Young Ones or, perhaps Spitting Image but these days I am so cool and mature that even the funniest Fags, Mags and Bags episode induces a warm companionable smile. As for most of Radio 4’s 6.30 comedy offerings: tumbleweed.

Don’t get me wrong, I find a lot of things funny, I always have, just not THAT funny. (The Morecambe and Wise breakfast time stripper sketch and certain episodes of Frasier still render me relatively helpless with laughter, though)

So if you want to tell me that I’ve made you laugh, this emoji 😄 is quite sufficient, thank you.

*The most recent of these was last week when rehearsing the Brahms German Requiem in the Marktkirche in Neuwied. We were seated for one movement, providing a gentle choral backing to the soprano solo. We had no chairs and had to sit on the floor. The soprano part is quite high throughout and I quipped that it was difficult to sing with my diaphragm in my trousers. I have no idea why this was funny but those around me collapsed in hysteria, myself included, precipitating some stern looks from our pianists.

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