Txt Msgng 4 Idits

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - July 02, 2008
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Our 19-year-old son, home from college, has got to be the all-time champion of text messaging. I could never understand the value of doing that. Why would you try to key some message on a keyboard sized for fingers of a newborn baby, when you can just use the cell phone with your voice?

And I don’t care how fast you can key in, it can’t possibly be faster than the speed of sound. As best as I can figure, it’s so that he can surreptitiously communicate with whomever is on the other end of his phone. I guess it’s the opposite of using a wireless headset, which, in use, is pretty obnoxious.

I’ve never really had the need for text messaging, and although I’ve had a cell phone since they were the size of bricks I never really learned how to do it. Until recently, that is. In an effort to bridge the communication between my son, 11-year-old daughter and me, I decided to learn text messaging.

The problem was that they didn’t want to teach me. I figured, how hard can it be if kids all over the world were doing it? So I observed how they were doing it and I started practicing by myself. It wasn’t too long before I had the thumb keying dexterity thing down pat.

What was holding me back were habits that working at a newspaper ingrains in you. I was hung up with capitalization, punctuation and correct spelling. Little did I know that those things went out the window when texting came in. It did explain why it took me a half-hour to key in a single sentence.

My first “live” texting was to my wife’s cell phone. I thought I would be cool to send her a text while she was at work. The problem with that was she didn’t know how to retrieve the text message, let alone send me one back. It was back to the drawing board for me.

I decided to text the master, our son. He responded immediately and I was elated that I was now an expert on the technology. I started using text messaging for everything with my kids. I would text my son while he was in his room and tell him to clean it or to take out the garbage.

I would text our daughter to bring me a drink from the kitchen or to retrieve my reading glasses from my bedroom. I think the last straw was when I texted our son across the room to have him change the TV channel. Immediately after, I saw them huddling with their mother.

The three of them came into the room and sat next to me, literally surrounding me. My son looked me straight in the eye and said, “Dad, we need to have an intervention.”


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