Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

I like texting.  I really do.  I think there’s a place for it.

When I bought my iPhone a couple of years ago, I dropped the texting option. “I won’t be texting. I would only text my wife, anyway, and we can e-mail.” But, now I know better.  Texting is here – alive and well, whether I like it or not.

The young man selling me the iPhone laughed when I rejected texting.  I thought he was laughing at me because I was too old to learn.  He wasn’t. He was laughing at me because I was stupid enough to think I wouldn’t text.  And I did hold out. For a while.

Any time Brenda and I wanted to communicate when we were apart, we e-mailed.  Once our iPhone “pinged,” we knew we had a message and we responded immediately.  But things change.  Through work, I met young people (and that might in some cases be anyone under the age of 50) who would rather text than talk to you in person.

I was brought into this technology somewhat kicking and screaming.  My electrician won’t talk to me with his mouth.  I’ll call and leave a voice mail, and in minutes he texts an answer.  This certainly cuts down on negotiations.  Since my thumbs don’t text well, I have a hard time telling him I need him sooner, or that his cost is a bit pricey or that I need additional work done.  Our conversation is usually something non-committal like, “Can you do a project for me this week? “  “OK.”  “ When?”  “When needed?”  “Right now.”  “Work U N.”  “When.”  “This week.”  “Today is Thursday, so is that today or tomorrow?”  “Work U N.”

Since we couldn’t talk, I had no options. I gave up.  I got on the phone and called someone else who probably charges more, but I could talk to him, and in a minute, we had an appointment.

And this is the rule.  Not the exception.  I have a neighbor I used to call on occasion to see if her son could do some yard work.  Now, the only way to reach her is to text.  She’s old enough to know better, and she’s quite articulate and has proven phone skills.  But, the guiding factor is that she has a teenage son.  She told me, “If I want to talk with my son, I have to text.”  It’s easy for someone to say they didn’t get your phone message or they didn’t get your e-mail.  But, when you’re talking with most youth today, you KNOW they got your text, because when they receive your message, their fingers automatically start twitching, and they answer your text before they think about it.

So, I’m trying to learn.  I know how to spell.  I know how to type.  I know how to take all vowels and unnecessary letters out so that you can text quickly – such as “The stpd mn drvng n frnt of me is txtng.  Arrst hm.”  Of course you send this text while driving.

But I still have trouble with execution.  My friend’s daughter can text one handed with a phone in her pants pocket.  No typos.  I can’t do that if I’m looking at the keyboard.

The husband of a young friend of ours was sick.  I knew she wouldn’t answer the phone or an e-mail, but I knew she WOULD answer a text.  So, I texted that “Brenda and I send our lice.”  Thank goodness I caught that in time and changed it.  “We are sending our life.”  Wrong again.  “We want you to know you have our lite.”  "Or lies."

I gave up and wrote a personal note and took it to the post office.    “Brenda and I hope Dave gets better.  We send our love.”

It took two days for them to get the note.  But, at least it was correct.

Date of Blog Story: 
June 24, 2010

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