Blue’s Clues and Conspiracies

Every now and then, an art form comes along that both invigorates and refreshes our culture; expressionism, modernism and surrealism are some, just to name a few. Yet art seems to have gone stale recently. But don’t fear! A new art form has emerged from the cracks and it’s taking UVM by storm: away messageism.

People are entranced by this new poetic style. Part limerick, part sonnet, the away message is on the fast track to earning its place among literary styles. At first it was met with little acceptance, and what little acceptance it met was mostly from the Amish community. “What is it anyway?” Ezekial Burlman, 27, asks. “People actually spend time doing this?”

The away message nation gives a united cry: “Yes (smiley face)!”

Young and old alike spend hours scrolling down their buddy lists, anxiously waiting to see what the next away message will say. There are hacks, as in all radical new art forms, but for every hack there is a gem, a person who carefully crafts an away message that will make you laugh, will outrage you and will even make you weep. The best of them can leave you questioning your very existence, such as those from modern authors like Candygirl21, JHMilkdud, and the brilliant, if oft misunderstood, Taffydog7.

Garball03 says it best: “Lol, dawg, way to eat all of my chips. Jk.” The rhythm of the language, the soul, the essence of a true away message. What the hell does it mean? What is a ‘dawg?’ Sometimes away messages are so deep that you spend hours tunneling into them, perched at your keyboard, frantically trying to unravel their mystery.

Some people insult such away message scholars. Ezekial, for one, insists, “What pathetic losers! Who would spend their lives reading that garbage?” A strong argument, Ezekial. However, our butter-churning companion may not have taken the time to listen to the awe-inspiring, majestic serenade of a certain away message laureate, a Mr. Bingboy34: “Dude, so wasted. Sleeping. Leave one.” Simply breathtaking.

What does it take to join this craze and become an away message sculptor? My neighbor writes pretty good ones, you may be saying, and he’s a dirty hippy who can barely read. Anyone can do this, friends. It’s the only type of literature in which you don’t even have to be literate at all; you can abbreviate everything.

When creating an away message, keep these tips in mind. First, make them as random and vague as possible. The effect should be your close friends saying to themselves, “Whoa – I don’t know what the hell any of that means.” Next, use plenty of smiling face icons. They add texture to an away message. Nothing brightens my day like opening up an away message and finding a grinning yellow head, or the adorable one that’s blushing. Of course, the opening up of away messages in and of itself makes my day a whole lot brighter. Sometimes, I sit awake in my bed, looking at my black computer screen, just wondering what so-and-so put up for his/her away message. I’m like a little school girl, wondering if I finally got my Barbie Dreamhouse (side note: I never did). And it’s fun, because it makes every day more like Christmas.

Don’t buy it? Then get your horse and buggy out of the way. Away messages aren’t just for nerds. Time and energy are being devoted to their study and deciphering. People aren’t just scoffing at the weird ones anymore; they’re plunging into the vast unknown that is their text. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from my all-time favorite away message poet, GYNiblets1: “Laundry. Call the cell.”

I leave you to ponder.