R U a TXT NooB? SRSLY?
by Steve Beauregard
This article first appeared in the Grand Junction Free Press on Dec. 4, 2007. Reprinted with permission.
A report from the cell phone industry’s trade group, CTIA, revealed that last year, 158 BILLION text messages were sent — only 17 of which, as it turns out, contained any importance whatsoever. The rest of the 158 billion messages were about, (quoting from page 64):
"How Tiffany is mad at Jake, because he was flirting with a cheerleader during Mr. Johnson’s civics class."
At the risk of sounding like one of those cranky fogeys who’s always yelling at kids to get off his lawn, I’ll admit that I just don’t get it. Although I appreciate technology, I haven’t fully dived into the world of texting, as evidenced by the fact that — thus far in my life — I’ve sent the exact same number of text messages as Abraham Lincoln.
But texting is huge now, and it’s taking over young people’s lives. According to another survey, 26 percent of teens say they begin texting within 10 minutes of waking up in the morning. This is how I can tell I’m getting old. Ten minutes after I wake up, I’m still trying to figure out where I am, or what day it is. Then I spend the next half-hour making loud obnoxious, throat-clearing noises.
But why are teens so obsessed with texting? If you have to ask you’re probably really old. And by "really old" I mean, "born before 1990." You obviously fail to realize that texting is a quick and efficient way to communicate without having to go through the tedious process of personally interacting with another human being.
Yet, despite having all the charm of a Nazi prison guard, texting has captured the imagination of today’s young people, and they’re using it to flirt, date and communicate. The end result is that for most teens, texting has replaced other activities, such as watching the road while driving.
It’s even changing the face of dating, and texting to ask people out marks a bold new chapter in the history of courtship. Back in prehistoric times, Paleolithic man didn’t have this kind of technology to help with the opposite sex. Back then, your average caveman would walk around, try to avoid giant dinosaur droppings, and dream of one day meeting an attractive cavewoman. Unfortunately, he was out of luck, because there WEREN’T any attractive cavewomen. But prehistoric caveman was desperate, so he’d spot an eligible cavewoman, smile at her, summon up all of his romantic charm, then bonk her over the head with a big club.
Eventually, however, society progressed, and mankind developed sophisticated dating techniques — mainly, passing a note to a cute girl during third period algebra class. You’d nervously hand her a folded-up, handwritten note that would read something like this:
Will you go to the movies with me?
____ YES ____ NO
Then, a few minutes later, she’d pass the note back to you, where you’d open it up to find a giant "X" marked next to the "NO," along with a letter from her attorney and a restraining order, which instructed you to keep at least 500 feet away from his client, unless you happened to be on the same dodge ball team during recess.
Now, however, love struck teens have abandoned the paper notes in favor of text messages, which they use to unleash their heart’s desire in emotion-packed, tender communiqués of love, like this:
"Hi! HrU? I lv u. TTyl"
Which, as any teen will tell you, translates into: "The chipmunk has developed an intestinal ailment." Or maybe not. I don’t know.
What I do know is that texting is dangerous, and clearly, we need laws against texting while driving. While we’re at it, we should pass laws banning those annoying text message commercials, too. And if we are really serious about protecting society, we will make a note of all the people who use cutesie text abbreviations like "TTFN" (which stands for Ta Ta For Now). And we will take those people and sentence them to long prison terms.
But I’m getting away from my main point, which is that I refuse to be dragged into modern society. I will not start texting people. That’s because I have principles. Plus I don’t have anybody to text. All I have is my wife, whom I’m taking to the movies tonight.
That is, assuming she marks, "YES" on the note.
Steve Beauregard writes a weekly humor column for the Grand Junction Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.