|Rainbow Barf Poop Emoji Stud Earrings. Available at Claire's, natch.|
At a Halloween gathering the other night, there was a little girl dressed in a unicorn costume wearing Rainbow Barf Poop Emoji earrings.
I marveled at them.
To be wearing Poop Emojis as earrings is amusing on its own- that they were also vomiting a rainbow leveled up the weird/grossness factor. I told the girl that her earrings were amazing, while also wondering aloud why anyone would be inspired to turn the image of a googly-eyed fecal matter barfing an array of colors into jewelry.
I can't stop thinking about these earrings. And today I realized it's because they actually kind of symbolize how I feel about everything from myself to the state of our country right now.
On the surface, it's that kind of disgusting craziness that comes with being a new mother. All the dirty diapers and the spit up. The exhaustion. The isolation that makes you overthink the existence of earrings featuring Rainbow Barf Poop Emoji.
(Seriously though, somebody had a conversation with another person, during which the subject of these earrings was broached:
First Guy: "You know, Poop Emojis are pretty popular. I bet there's a kid out there who'd love to wear them as earrings."
Second Guy: "You think there's a kid out there who wants to wear a dollop of shit on their ears?"
First Guy: "Well, when you say it like that ... maybe if we made them a little bit more feminine and sparkly?"
Second Guy: "How 'bout adding a rainbow?"
First Guy: "Better yet, how 'bout the Poop Emoji is puking a rainbow?!"
Second Guy: "Genius!! Let's get China on that."
First guy: Calls China
My current status is kind of tacky and ridiculous.
Today, for instance, while I was in line at the Salvation Army purchasing, among other things, a T-shirt featuring Pinky and the Brain from "Animaniacs," a kind lady behind me in line pointed at Annie's backside, where mustard-colored poo was seeping through the unicorn face plastered on the bottom of her pants (note to self: Look into manufacturing Unicorn Poo earrings...). That poo made its way to my hand and arm. Annie was fussy and the poo was smeary and the line was long. The kind lady helped push the stroller through the line. Her friends chattered behind me, cooing at Annie- who they still said was cute despite the screaming and the fecal matter.
These days I'm all covered in cat hair and dog hair and spit up. I fear I'm losing my ability to carry on normal, adult conversation. And also that I'm losing interest in carrying on normal, adult conversations.
At that Halloween party, I had random attacks of anxiety. Was I talking too loud? Why did it seem like everything I was saying was rambling, lame and irrelevant? Like verbal diarrhea. I hid behind the stupid Grouchy Marx glasses I bought earlier that day. I made small talk with second graders. I honed in on a 6 year old's Rainbow Barf Poop Emoji earrings. A real conversation piece.
Beyond feeling like a walking version of Rainbow Barf Poop Emoji earrings, I have this growing dread inside that the whole phenomenon of Poop Emoji and its various incarnations is indicative of how we've sort of given up as a society.
Stay with me here.
It's not meant to be judgmental.
My parents would be the first to tell you I have been inciting poop-centered and poop-adjacent conversations for decades. I embrace scatological jokes, mostly because my sense of humor never evolved past that of a 10-year-old boy.
But, like, in moderation.
(Hehehe. I said but).
Poop Emoji has shown up on everything from pillows to Christmas ornaments to, oddly enough, air fresheners. It's so pervasive it's mainstreamed the naughtiness of poop-versation and made it- dare I say- less funny to talk shit. It's just what we do now. And it's kind of sad to me.
Poop Emoji is the symbol of our national dialogue. Nothing surprises us anymore. Nothing shocks us. We now operate day to day expecting shit to hit fan. We're both incredulous about ALL THE THINGS and simultaneously resigned to them. We expect ALL THE THINGS to happen on any given day. And yet, because we're plucky, ever-optimistic, pull-ourselves-up-by-our-bootstraps Americans we're forcing ourselves to locate all the silver linings.
Our dog has recently become obsessed with eating crayons. This has resulted in the backyard landmines looking like colorful confetti bombs. How whimsical! How hilarious. But, you know, still poop. Years ago I wrote about the time Jovie vomited a technicolor array of foods all over our white living room carpet. It was kind of pretty and sort of like something you might find hanging up in a museum of modern art. But, you know, still puke.
We took the silliness of Poop Emoji and had to elevate it with rainbow puke. Sure it's excrement spewing another type of excrement, but isn't it kind of pretty? We could do something with that... like turn it into earrings!!
Glittery rainbows make most things easier to stomach.
I imagine no matter where your politics lie these days you could apply this image to the rhetoric of your opponents, right?
In fact, my first instinct here was to suggest that Rainbow Barf Poop Emoji would make a really great campaign logo for certain candidates. However, that doesn't really solve any problems or further any dialogue now does it? And it kind of needlessly insults regular folks across the spectrum who just want to feel like they have a stake and a voice and a future in this country.
I have no interest in slinging mud (or Poop Emojis for that matter).
I mean, if there's one thing we can all agree on in this country, it's that Rainbow Barf Poop Emoji is kind of funny, right?
It's also gross.
But silly. Especially silly when it shows up on the ears of adorable first graders.
It's gross, silly and absurd. Absurd and kind of desperate.
Like, I feel like we're all in the need of a good laugh. The perfect, universal Dad joke. Or, the ridiculousness of Melissa McCarthy seducing an air marshal in "Bridesmaids." We all need to laugh together in a big, meaty, guttural way. Not just writing LOL. But actually laughing out loud.
I feel like Rainbow Barf Poop Emoji is kind of this cheap attempt at eliciting that type of laughter. But it's not hitting quite the right note. It's all over-the-top and zany and needy.
We need the kind of cleansing laughter you get from an afternoon sitting around with siblings reminiscing about the time dad got so annoyed over the amount of stuff being packed in the station wagon for the family vacation he started coming out of the house with obviously unnecessary items. "Should we pack this, too?!" you recall him yelling as he attempted to tie a rocking chair on the roof of the car.
What Rainbow Barf Poop Emoji gives us is the type of laugh a sleep-deprived mother of three with an infant makes when the oldest kid laments the fact that our house doesn't have enough "spook" ahead of Halloween and why can't we just add acquiring and hanging up an array of creepy Halloween-related decoratives to the list of things to do behind all the laundry, cooking, shopping, cleaning and infant care that needs to be done.
Seriously, Mom, why don't you just get on that?
The mom is laughing, sort of, as she scans the house littered with toys, shoes, unmatched socks, dog, hair, cat hair, chip crumbs, baby spit up and fruit flies and points out to the oldest kid that they kind of already live in a house of horrors.
That's the kind of laughing we're all doing right now I think.
It's uneasy, unhinged and unsettling to pets and small children.
Like Clark Griswold hanging up Christmas lights or visiting Wally World.
That's where we are right now.
Anxious and angry and sad and afraid and frantically searching for news that it's all going to be OK.
We know that Rainbow Barf Poop Emoji is kind of ugly and immature and pretty gross, but we're also aware that silliness is hard to come by. When nothing seems funny anymore, this is funny, right? It's in the wheelhouse of funny? It's Funny's neighbor Ned Flanders- maybe too earnest and too obvious.
I don't know.
Considering I just used 1,400 words to reflect on a first grader's choice of accessories, maybe I'm the one who's trying too hard.
Which is why I think maybe the best place for me to be for the foreseeable future is holing up in my house. Giggling as I watch Lily attempt to make Annie laugh or watching Jovie twirl around on the front porch as it pours.
"Mom," she says, "when you dance, can you not feel rain as much?"
"What do you think?"
"I think yes."
Gosh these kids are so darn cute.
Some might say I barfed a rainbow when I had them.