The backwards smiley is my own answer to the evil that is AOL Instant Messenger graphical smiles. The first time I saw that evil grinning yellow face, I was angry and disgusted and declared myself its ultimate eternal enemy for all time. Turning my pure characters into something I had never seen before and most certainly did not wish to inflict upon my friends! Ick ick ick ick ick! How dare it! (Yes, I realize :) is no more original than a graphical smile, but it's the principle of the thing.)
Of course, I immediately searched the program preferences and checked 'disable graphical smiles'. That got them out of my way, but it didn't solve the problem - every time I typed :), the person on the other end was still going to see evil yellowness. I solved that by creating the backwards smiley: (:, a creation that conveys the same emotions and yet does not map to any graphic.
Anything that you can do with a regular smiley, you can do with a backwards smiley. Some even look better backwards, particularly any constructs that require using a 'c' as a nose:
(c: vs. :c)
See? No more pig nose!
And - now you can use 'c' as a tongue!
c(: vs. :P
Now that's a nice, happy tongue, not a mean, sarcastic tongue.
Or the concentration tongue:
I'll leave the rest as an exercise for the reader.
I've used this so much that backwards smileys have crept into my email, icq, and chatterbox messages. I just can't go back to the old way. It feels so .. unnatural. (-;