Rob Oxford: This is a text, this is only a text

Monday, November 18, 2019

By Rob Oxford

I am not a “texter”. There, I said it!

It’s obviously a generational thing or quite possibly because my fingers are a bit too fat?

Whichever the case may be, a good ol’ fashioned telephone conversation is my preferred mode of communicating. I’m also proficient with smoke signals and enjoy a nice hand-written letter in cursive, but that’s an article for another time.

Now I will admit that in certain situations, the ability to send a quick message containing just a few words or a short sentence can be extremely beneficial. For instance, “pick you up at 8,” “be home by 10,” “milk and eggs,” or “call me”…I use the last one a lot.

I’m ok with these. They’re short, to the point and extremely difficult to misinterpret. In fact the worst that can happen is that you stop by the store and after grabbing a dozen eggs, ask the cashier where you can find the mork?

Don’t look at me, I thought it was some kind of leavening agent.

The written word can be confusing. Especially if you’re overly sarcastic like me. A meaning can be misconstrued, a point not articulated correctly, a joke can be taken out of context. Just spend a day on Facebook and you’ll see what I mean.

It’s just so much easier to pick up the phone. That is unless you’re a Millennial at your Grandparents' house and theirs is a rotary phone or you have long-winded relatives like some of mine.

Such is the case when a question I thought could be easily answered like “can we bring anything for dinner?” turned into a complete recitation of the entire Thanksgiving meal that was to be served. Afterward, in the overly sarcastic manner which is my custom, my response was “So, basically the answer is no?” At which point I regretted not sending a text.


Then there’s the acronyms. Who came up with these? Are these taught in school and is it required learning or a 2nd semester elective?

Obviously, some have been around for decades. We know that AKA means “Also Known As.” FYI means “For Your Information” and BYOB, well that one had better not be used in any of my kid’s text messages. At least not for a few more years anyhow or MMW…”Mark My Words”, there’ll be some explaining that needs to be done.

There’s no question these “codes” are meant to befuddled and confuse parents.

We’ve all witnessed our teens or twenty-somethings, fingers flying across their phone’s keypad. Until doing research for this article, I literally had no idea how they could possibly type so fast and have it be legible. There had to be a manual. “Texting for Dummies” perhaps?

“Voila!” May I present the definitive guide to texting shorthand.

HTH, “Hope This Helps”?

Now I get that some people just don’t like talking on the phone, which is precisely my reason for calling certain relatives, those I alluded to above, as infrequently as possible. However, sometimes it is necessary.

For example, my brother John has a smart phone but has never sent a text. He wouldn’t know how. If I want to stay in touch with him, I have to call... which I do about once a week. John has been around a long time and literally has no desire to learn about new technology. In fact, he often tells me about his friend Alexander. You remember, the one who said “Mr. Watson come in here, I want to see you”?

First patented by Mr. Bell in 1877, we’ve come a very long way since the invention of the telephone. From the electric telegraph to Morse code, soup cans with string tied between them and even “speaking tubes” which in some cases are still used today.

My friend George suggested we just revert to using Semaphores (from the Greek word sema, meaning sign and phero, meaning to bear), a system of conveying information using a series of flags or paddles.

Although I’m quite sure in doing so he was merely applying the same sarcastic tone for which I am well known.

Instead I’ll continue to use the same “hunt and peck” style of texting I have adapted when writing my articles. In the meantime, if you prefer just pick up the old “Blower” (British slang for the Telephone) and shoot me a call at BR549.


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