Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Texting, Shmexting

Until a few years ago the two main methods we had of communicating long-distance were telephone and e-mail, which are much more advanced than the communication methods that existed when I was a kid (smoke signals and grunting). Now, thanks to texting, we can communicate with anyone from anywhere, including our shower.

I have not embraced this new technology because, let’s face it, I’m old. Now that I'm in my 40s I just want to live a peaceful life with as little stress as possible, and adopting a new form of communication would defeat that goal. Young people are always more apt to accept new things than old folks are, whether it’s technology, music, food, or movies. For example, I have not seen any movie that has come out since 2009, and the last one I saw that year (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) was so bad that I am currently suing Kevin James for the two hours of my life that I lost.

It is estimated that the average teenager sends and receives 120 texts per day. Even if each text only takes 30 seconds, that’s a solid hour of texting each and every day. Now, I suppose I shouldn’t condemn all the time they spend with their noses buried in their phones because when I was their age I would sometimes spend hours at video game arcades playing Asteroids, Missile Command and Time Pilot. I’m very glad for having developed my skills at those games; otherwise my time would have been wasted on dates.

Several friends urge me to get a texting plan. You know why? Because they text. It’s all about their convenience. Apparently they’re tired of talking to me, so they want to write to me instead. One friend told me that since I’m single, I should text because that’s how people are “hooking up” these days, and if I don’t text, I won’t keep any woman’s interest for very long. I don’t know. I’ve been dumped approximately 831 times, and it was never because I didn’t text. It was always because of other stuff I didn’t do, like dress well, take them to fancy restaurants, tell them that they didn’t look fat, etc.

I refuse to text, and I’ll explain why a little later, but first I will list the advantages of texting over talking in order to let you know that I’m well aware of the benefits:

1. Texting is possible where talking is forbidden, such as classes and meetings. Just what I need: to start texting in front of my boss. Then when I get canned I’ll have plenty of time to text.
2. Texting is possible where listening is difficult, such as dance clubs and concerts. This is great if you’re the sort of person who spends their evenings in places so loud that even Marlee Matlin won’t go there.
3. Texting is a viable solution when there are people within earshot that you don’t want to overhear your message. This is useful if you’re placing your heroin order while riding in the backseat of your parents’ car.
4. If you need to get a message to several people quickly, one text can be sent to multiple recipients, whereas for voice contact you must call each person individually. Thus texting gives you an efficient way to send deep, thoughtful messages such as “c u @ J’s l8r”.
5. You can save text exchanges on your phone. Just perfect if you want to blackmail people.
6. Via texting you can get your point across without being interrupted. Yeah, that’s what I want: to associate with people who don’t respect me enough to let me finish a sentence.

Okay, now that I’ve given texting its due, here are the 10 reasons I refuse to text:

1. Talking provides more nuanced interaction such as voice inflection, laughter, etc, which communicate feelings that words can’t. When I say something funny, I want to hear the other person laugh; I don’t want to receive a text that says “LOL”.
2. You can talk or listen to voice messages while driving. Texting while driving is illegal and downright dangerous. How can people manage to drive while focusing on texting? I wonder if they text during sex too.
3. Texting is impersonal, whereas a person’s voice is soothing. Well, some people’s voices are soothing. Other people’s voices are nails on chalkboard.
4. Texting is more prone to creating misunderstandings. Something that was meant as a joke can be taken seriously because there is no sarcastic or humorous voice tone. I know this because one time I e-mailed a girlfriend that she was a shallow, critical, ungrateful bitch. I’m sure she wouldn’t have gotten upset if, instead of writing it, I had said it in a sarcastic tone.
5. You can get voice messages remotely from a landline when you do not have your cell phone. Simply call your phone number and enter your security code. I have a security code that no one would ever be able to guess. It’s 1111.
6. As I get older my near vision is failing, and I don’t want to spend any more time than necessary squinting at the letters on my phone. I can’t even read pill bottles anymore. The other day I had a headache and instead of taking Excedrin I accidentally took Ex-Lax. Well, at least it took my mind off the headache.
7. Texting creates distance between family members. For example, instead of talking with their parents at the dinner table, kids are texting their friends. When I grew up we didn’t have this option. We kids had to actually talk to our parents, as they had to talk to their parents, and let me tell you, it was every bit as agonizing then as it is today, but by golly we did it, and we are better people for it, as evidenced by the fact that we manage to appear happy even though we are slowly dying from stress and heart disease while we buy cell phones and texting plans for our children, who use these gifts to distance themselves from us, inasmuch as they are highly embarrassed by the mere fact of our existence.
8. Voice messages tend to be way more important than text messages. A typical text is something like “what u doin 2nite?” No one would ever leave such a lame voice message. Lots of people get dozens of these annoying, vacuous texts in a single day. Meanwhile I get maybe two voice messages per week because people call me only when they have something worthwhile to say. Also because no one likes me.
9. Texting is cowardly. Want to go on a date with someone? Grow a pair and call her.
10. Talking saves time. Why send 20 texts back and forth with someone rather than have a conversation? Also, if you have a long story to tell, talking is much faster than typing with your thumbs. For example, let’s say you get into a fight with your girlfriend. She throws things at you and keeps yelling and won’t shut up, so you grab her and shake her and try to talk sense into her, but she just keeps screaming, and before you know it there’s blood everywhere and she’s not moving and oh my god what am I gonna do, okay don’t panic, my friend Vinnie has a truck and I have a couple of shovels, and I remember a stretch of woods off a side street that looks like it’ll never be developed because the ground is always wet, and it’s dark out now so we could load her in Vinnie’s truck without anyone seeing and take care of this mess and be finished well before dawn. Are you gonna type all that? Of course not. Your hands will be shaking too much. Instead you call Vinnie, who will gladly come over and help because you know about the time he cheated on his wife with that male prostitute.

As you can see, there are many good reasons not to text. Granted, texting enables you to annoy, blackmail, silence, and solicit illegal drugs from your friends, but these advantages are far outweighed by the time savings that talking provides. So the next time you want to tell me something, call me and talk to me. Better yet, come by and visit. We’ll drink in my bar. Then you can tell all your friends what a great time you’re having. I’ll be playing loud music so you’ll have to text them.