Take Five: We need to talk

We have to talk. Make that, we need to talk. Right now, before it’s too late. Our vocal chords will soon atrophy. We can’t let that happen.

Texting is enveloping our communities. Fingers fly over the keypads. I admit I’m rattled by this 21st century phenomenon. I’m holding my emotions in check, just barely.

Hysteria on my part, you say? Tell me, when was the last time you had a full frontal view of your children’s faces? Or your grandchildren’s?

Remember, you older folks, when we made either station-to-station or person-to-person long-distance calls on instruments that were attached to the wall? Tell me when you had a real person-to-person chat with someone in your family younger than 25.

If I remember my literature course of long ago, Robinson Crusoe and Friday texted one entire week before they met, man-to-man on that famous desert island. Now, don’t write to me and say there was no electricity in those days. I know that. The Energizer Bunny supplied batteries.

I am inspired to make that remark by the following scene: As I was driving down Foothill Boulevard by McDonalds (I confess, I really wanted the fries) I saw a group of teenagers standing outside. They were in teenage mode — heads down, hands flying. It occurred to me that the two closest to the curb might even be “talking” to each other, but possibly not realizing that they were actually standing together.

So what I’m pushing here today is more social discourse. Can we have more talking among ourselves? We used to be able to converse with our mouths, not our fingers.

I know that our society must be hip to all the new gadgetry that swamps us by the hour. But standing-side-by-side and not knowing it? Or even worse, knowing it?

I’m going to text my grandchildren seeking answers. Yes, I have an iPhone. That is solution No. 1: Buy a phone. I know they’ll text me back because we don’t talk together much, anyway.

But what are they texting? Solution No. 2: Learn the lingo.

I’ll give you some help. You must abbreviate every word you can. Otherwise, you will develop neck pain and finger cramps, and worse you will lose the attention span of the recipient of these messages.

OMG = Oh My God, possibly the first “shorthand “ you should know. IDK = I Don’t Know, which is probably your answer to everything. Or better yet IDC= I Don’t Care.

You can use TMI =Too Much Information. This is in direct answer to your child laying out where they will be in the next half hour, how they are going to get there, who is picking up whom and what they are going to do “there.” Hmm, better strike that last part.

There are an infinite variety of combinations and you may make up your own at will. Since the “code” changes all the time, you need to keep ahead. K? (OKAY?).

My initiation into “initial-talking” began with FYI and ended with BYOB. You won’t need a texting dictionary to figure those out. Yes, there are texting directories, so solution No. 3 is to buy one.

My favorite has always been RSVP, although this phrase is not so much in use anymore. Not only that, no one follows it anyway.


GENE PEPPER is a published author and writer. Contact him by email at gpep@aol.com or phone (818) 790-1990.

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