I text. Not a lot, especially compared to people I nearly run down in the street because they’re too stupid not to stare at their phone while driving, or who sometimes walk blindly into traffic.
Nature is preparing for a Mass Idiot Extinction. You heard it here.
Texting is a bit of a crutch, really. It’s a way to communicate without having to actually talk to anyone. The older I get the more I enjoy not talking to people unless I’m yelling at drivers to put down their phone.
The idea for texting came in 1984 when Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen thought, hey, I don’t like people. I’m not sure that’s exactly what he thought, but I may be close. When the BBC contacted him for a rare interview in 2012, he agreed to it only if it were through text messaging.
The first text message was sent Dec. 3, 1992, when software engineer Neil Papworth wished Richard Jarvis, an executive at a British telecom company, “Merry Christmas.”
Today, nearly 16 million text messages are sent across the globe every minute. That’s a lot of mostly irrelevant information. Sure, “Pick up Zach from soccer practice,” has some impact on supper, but “Dope, chick, totally slang word, lol,” probably does not.
Texting is also making us stupid in ways other than the “just drove into a tree lol” brand of stupid. I mean “can’t function in everyday life” stupid. I noticed this happening to me when my mobile phone started telling me what to write. I know it’s making me stupidly. Stupiderer. More stupiderest. Damn it.
What I wanted to ask my wife: When are you coming home?
Me texting: When–
Phone suggestions: will/did/could.
Hey, that’s cool. My telephone is predicting what I’m going to write. This is lazy, but “will” works, so—.
Me texting: will–
Phone suggestions: the/she/you.
OK, two for two.
Me texting: you–
Phone suggestions: buy/be/send.
Me texting: send–
I hit the delete button. That wasn’t right. I’d touched the “be” option. Come on, you dumb phone. When will you “be” home.
Phone suggestions: the/more/some.
Delete. Delete, delete, delete.
Me texting: the–
Oh, come on. I didn’t choose that.
Phone suggestions: mail/invitations/launch.
What? Launch? Does launch come up so frequently in conversation some software wonk thought it was necessary to put in a phone’s programming?
Me texting: launch–
Does this delete function not work?
Phone suggestions: times/turkey/codes.
Turkey? That doesn’t make any sense. Why would—
Me texting: codes–
I gave up and text messaged my wife, “When will you send the launch codes?” Followed by a smiley-face emoji.
Eh, close enough.
She messaged back, “I’ll be home at 4:30.” Hmm. I guess this texting thing really works.
A few minutes later there was a knock on the door. Our 13-year-old answered it.
“Dad, there are people outside in black suits and sunglasses,” he shouted. “They said they have a few questions.”
I guess this is the world we live in now.
– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for the Apocalypse,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.