GS Phone Home

ET rudely texting a friend while Drew Barrymore is talking to him.

We are witnessing the end of an era.  Ever since Alexander Graham Bell used his new-fangled invention to say “elementary” to his assistant, Watson, the phone call has been the communication gold standard.  Not any more.  People under 25 would rather text.

My daughter, Gwen, hasn’t voluntarily called home since she left for college.  If we’re lucky, we get the occasional text.   I keep explaining that the expensive gizmo attached to her hand is a telephone capable of making and receiving phone calls, but I’m not getting through.

I don’t like texting.  For one thing, it’s a lot of work.

People my age struggle with the tiny keyboard.  We squint at it through our drug-store cheater glasses, tongues sticking out as we hit the wrong keys and try to figure out how to punctuate.  Mrs. Harrison taught me to use the shift key in typing class almost 40 years ago, and it’s worked just fine ever since.  How come you don’t use the shift key for punctuation anymore?  How am I supposed to unlearn the habits of 40 years and get up to speed on this thing?

With a phone call, you get to hear the other person’s voice.  You can tell a lot by tone and inflection.  LOLs and ROFLMAOs don’t provide quite the same nuance. You can also get an idea of where they’re calling from, a real plus for the inquiring parent. 

I don’t want to text my kids in case they’re driving.  Liz and Gwen both say they would never text while driving.  How stupid do I look?  Gwen doesn’t actually have a car at school, but she could be walking when my text comes through.  Looking down at her phone instead of watching where she’s going, she could very well run into a plate glass window or tumble down an open manhole.  That’s only funny in a Roadrunner cartoon.

Nothing about texting drives me crazier, though, than the texter’s apparent conviction that “anytime, anywhere” is a reasonable mantra.

How many times have you been having a conversation with a kid who keeps glancing at their lap?  The slight twitching of the arms and their fake, interested expression, and you know they are gone.  Their thumbs are typing away under the table.   They’re still communicating with you, though – loud and clear.  They’re telling you that their electronic conversation is a lot more interesting than your “yadda, yadda, blah, blah”.

Can we say, rude? 

Then there’s the physical toll all this is taking.  Like I keep telling Gwen, in another 50 years today’s kids are all going to have the carpel tunnel so bad, they won’t be able to function. 

We’re going to end up with an entire generation of people who can’t work because they have crippled their thumbs.  This will put a tremendous burden on society.  Everyone will be on Social Security disability at once, and the system will go bankrupt.  The United States of America will no longer be a world leader.  After all, opposable thumbs are what set us apart from the rest of the animals, and allowed us to stand upright, and use tools like a stick to get ants out of a formicary (I saw a National Geo special about monkeys doing that – really interesting), and evolve into people who invented cars and the Sham-wow.  

China will take over our country because Chinese characters don’t lend themselves to texting, so their thumbs will be safe.  We will fall just like Rome to the Vandals (or was it the Visigoths?) because there will be nobody with thumbs to do any work or operate weapons. 

I can only thank God that I won’t have to pay to support all these selfish, texting teenagers turned thumb-less, middle-aged, lay-abouts because in 50 years, I will be dead.  Or at least so senile that all I’ll care about is finger painting with my own feces.  In any event, whether dead or senile, I won’t be very aware of my surroundings, so let me take the opportunity now to say, in advance, that I TOLD YOU SO!

Anyway, I just can’t figure out why Gwen doesn’t call me. 

GS, phone home.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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27 Responses to GS Phone Home

  1. notquiteold says:

    Hilarious -unfortunately!


  2. bigsheepcommunications says:

    I’m thinking that thumbs will evolve into thin precision texting instruments, perfect for texting, yet useless for all other functions. As for me, I only hope to find the apostrophe on my cell phone before I die.


    • pegoleg says:

      Big, nimble thumbs will be the new sexy body part. I know what you mean about the apostrophe – are we just supposed to abandon all punctuation? What’s with the “symbol” key? THAT doesn’t belong there.


  3. Jackie says:

    “After all, opposable thumbs are what set us apart from the rest of the animals, and allowed us to stand upright, and use tools like a stick to get ants out of a formicary”


    Love the post – I’m all for complaining about the convictions of modern communication methods.

    Also, tell your kid to call you. It’s not negotiable.


  4. Hilarious! I am very anti-texting. My thumbs are pretty useless. I wrote a post about this exact thing awhile back. No one could relate to how much I hate texting. But it’s convenient! they claim. Please. My brother visited me once from out of state and spent the entire time texting under the table. I told him he should have saved himself the plane ticket, we could have had more meaningful conversations on Facebook.


  5. misswhiplash says:

    I am with you there pegoleg. texting is todays scourge. I don’t hear from my daughters either. They always say that if there is anything to tell me they will let me know. That is not the point tho is it? I need to hear their voice, to know that they are safe and not been murdered, raped or pillaged.
    The other problem is the mobile phone itself. You look arpound you everyday there are people with this contraption stuck to their ear. If you should be in the middle of a conversation and their phone rings. immediately it is answered and you are forgotten.

    Woe, woe is me! Like you I shall be long since gone in say another 25 years if I am lucky and what on earth will things be like by then. It does not bear thinking about


  6. I text. I confess, I text a lot. And I’m not a kid. But I also confess that there was a time (before I had a phone with a qwerty keyboard) that I had Texters’ Thumb. My right thumb was sore at the base joint. Pathetic, I know. But it’s okay now. And I don’t text while talking to an actual human who’s right there in front of me. That IS rude.


    • pegoleg says:

      I do see a use for texting – when you want to drop a message like “I’ll pick you up at 6” or “Please get milk after work.” I just don’t see it as a substitute for conversation. And I’m SO glad you don’t text someone else when somebody else is right there with you – rude, rude!


  7. Libertarian says:

    I hate texting to, and I am only 44 (that’s kinda young, isn’t it???)… yes, Sr. Bertha in Typing 101, sophomore year in high school, would roll over if she could see us now!!


  8. Big Al says:

    Two thumbs up! – Roger Ebert


  9. Tar-Buns says:

    I agree that texting is a pain in the … butt. Especially when you DON’T have the querty keyboard. My phone, not that old, still involves using the letters under the numbers. I only use it when I know that’s the only way to reach someone and for leaving short messages as you said.

    Another school year begun. Cell phones and smart phones are going to be a big battle in the classroom. Cheers to all the teachers for a fabulous year AND the hope John and Jane Q. Public stop bashing teachers!

    Gwen, phone home!!! 🙂


    • pegoleg says:

      Teachers should have the ability to scramble cell phones in their classrooms – gotta be a HUGE problem with distractions and cheating.

      I LOVE ME SOME TEACHERS! Have a great year – Go, go, go!


  10. Sandy Sue says:

    The rudeness kills me. Also, that parents don’t make their kids put the phones away at dinner or whenever. No one needs to be that available.


  11. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    Before I started working at my current company, I felt like a text message or email could solve anything. Now I see it leads to a lot of useless iterations and more to-do’s, whereas just calling someone allows me the double joy of hearing their voice and sorting out any open items without having ’em linger in my inbox.

    Unfortunately, I did not learn this lesson before devastating my right thumb. Ugh!


    • pegoleg says:

      I like emails when you just have to send some information, or get facts. But it can’t beat the sense of connection you can get from talking to someone, can it? Sorry about your thumb. I’m gonna be sure to tell Gwen about it – I need all the ammunition I can get!


  12. sukanyabora says:

    “…finger painting with your feces” LOL
    this one cracked me up! hope your daughter connected with you, text or phone.


  13. John Hunsinger says:

    The phone companies have tricked the youth of America, into thinking that texting is better that talking. Texting is an inferior form of communication. What’s next Verizon smoke signals or Alltel carrier pigeon. I’m with you peg 100%


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