Back in the way olden days, folks used to scrawl pictures on cave walls to convey meaning. Needless to say, we've evolved since then -- what with the planting and harvesting, the creation of the wheel, the no longer living in caves.
And yet we still insist on employing crude pictures to convey emotion: the emoticon.
We're putting forth the following challenge to you, dear readers, as the year drags its sorry carcass toward the grave: Spend the rest of this month emoticon-free. The parenthetical purge begins now.
If you feel like an emotional cripple come 2011, then, fine, smile, wink, scowl and "meh" away. But, in the meantime, here are three situations that you can instantly slap the smile outta.