The Infantilist Exclamation Mark in “Success!” Has Me Doubting Outlook’s Sincerity – And My Every Achievement in Life

It’s such a simple thing,

Except it isn’t, because I always forget my phone.

It’s always under the sofa cushion or amongst the unwashed pots in the kitchen,

When it comes to the Two-Stage verification to get into my own email.

Enter the code beginning with 2,” it says this time,

After I’ve discovered that I don’t have my glasses,

And have gone looking for my glasses,

And I realise again that the removal of specs from face

Also results in near total loss of memory.

Enter the code beginning with 2,” it says,

To let me into my own email,

Because it doesn’t believe I am me,

Maybe because it has read my messages,

And struggles to square the blinking bewildered befuddlement

Squinting at the text on the Nokia screen

With the presumed professional whose account it is.

“Enter the code beginning with 2,” I say,

Eventually finding it on the screen,

Like it’s a Magic Eye puzzle I’m solving,

Like I haven’t done this every time since they introduced the Two-Stage thing,

Like I haven’t forgotten every single time,

Locking myself out more than once

And being no worse off for it,

Because at least then Outlook doesn’t patronise me.

Like it does now, when I enter the code beginning with 2

And, for such a tiny, insignificant, not-even-achievement,

I get the word that cuts the strings to my soul,

And the exclamation mark that tells me it is taking the proverbial.

“Success” is bad enough for achieving nothing,

“Success!” with the infantilist exclamation mark

Lets me know that rather fewer than two-steps are needed to verify me.



Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Safe and Sound Press. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains unproduced but available to interested producers! 

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