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Woman Spends Entire Day Communicating in Emoticons

Seattle (DPI) - Using nothing but a series of punctuation marks learned from Yahoo! Messenger, Data Analyst Tasha Michaels of Kent Data Services spent the entire working day communicating with coworkers, friends, management and customers in a bewildering array of emoticons. People who had interacted with Tasha during the day took little notice of the communication style until later in the day when it became apparent that she had become frustrated over the loss of the ability to actually form grammatically correct sentences comprised of nouns, verbs, adjectives and prepositions.

Systems Manager Bob Riggs noted, "I sent Tasha an email I had recieved outlining the required changes to a pending report for one of customers, a local ad agency. I took her response of a simple :-| - the notation for a flat, grim face of acceptance as recognition of the need to make the changes as well as a shared acknowledgement of the impact this would have on other jobs." He added, "It wasn't until the fifth email reply I got from her, this time a cryptic digital bronx cheer in the form of ;-p~~ that I began to realize that something was amiss with Tasha.

Close friend Melissa Diego told reporters, "Tasha always seemed really busy and unable to really talk much when she was at work, but when I sent her an email sharing a rough experience I had recently had with my boyfriend, I really expected something more than a series of =:-O replies."

Psychologists were called in to help Tasha reconnect with the language skills that had atrophied after several months of near constant communication with friends and coworkers using instant messenger technologies combined with SMS text messages. The painstaking process of rebuilding her vocabulary and verbal skills was expected to take several weeks.

"When we first found Tasha, she was sitting in her cube repeatedly typing :-( and <:-|, the symbols for 'sad' and 'dunce' respectively. After several hours of therapy, she had expanded her vocabulary to include a broader range of expression. We are quite pleased with the progress she has made, as she has recently added 'LOL' and 'U 2' to her repertoire of communication. Shortly, we hope to get her to start using full words and eventually, full sentences."

Asked by reporters to describe her descent into emoticon communication, Tasha replied, ";-) 2 :-| 2 :-(", noting her gradual decline into sorrow, followed by a notation indicating that she would be right back, but had to go pee.

(Reported by Ross Brown)

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