January 15th, 2004.

I dnt do txt.

Thx 2 d technogeek hu lng ago found a way 2 allow mob fonez 2 snd txt msgz limited 2 1 hundred & 6T caractRs, it wud sEm dat ppl n d UK, especalE >-z undR d age of twenty two, hav 404 d ability 2 wrte simpl eng. insted dey nw onlE sEm abL 2 wrte n d emerging shrt& lngwij w d most uninspiring of uninventive nAmz; txt,' az n txt msgz Usd on mob fonez. It's d nu lngwij of f%lz, BetA even thN Esperanto!

Such iz my annoyance w d staggering penetration in2 our daily lives dat d SMS (sht msg services) phenomenon hz had, I hav cm ^ w a nu policy; I simply ignOr aL txt msgz snt 2 my mob fone unLS dey require a response 4 sAfT o important informational reasons. txt msgz such az "hA wot u ^ 2?" R nw met w silence, not a word, not even a word w letRz missing. Nuttin. howevR, f d prsn hu snt d txt msg chooses 2 caL me, thN datz k. I M :-) 2 chat on d fone, bt thumbing som badly RitN txt msg? n!

Lst Novmbr aloN I snt 178 txt msgz, Ech costing me 10p & taking me fR longer 2 typ thN it wud hav 2 simply spOkn d appropriate response. f d prsn had simply Usd d fone n d way Alexander Graham Bell had orginLE intended dey wud hav saved me a lot of tym & trouble sitN ther thumbing tiny ltl letRz onto a micro sized screen dat wiL surely do Nuttin bt incrEs my chncz of BcmN sht sighted!

Txt msgz R, on d whole, Nuttin bt a nuisance, an interruption & ofn a disruption. I hav considRD havN d 'feature' of txt msgN on my mob fone switched off so az 2 halt d grON influx of garbled rubbish dat bEpz & vibrates itz way in2 existence. ive even given Cres thawt 2 actually doin awA w my mob fone entirely!

PictuR d scene f U wiL, U' chatting Ovr lch w a frNd wen, 'bEp bEp, bEp bEp,' dey git a txt msg. str8 awA dey' n longer listening 2 U, insted dey' rEDN som msg. U bcm distracted by DIS interruption cuz nw dey stRt tapping awA on yor fone, thumbing a response, completely unaware of how insulted U R. U stop spkN whIl dey tap awA @ d tiny numeric key pad, onlE 2 hav dem sA "Carry on, Im jst txtN."

ThR reasoning, of corS, iz dat txt msgz R somehow less intrusive thN an actual phone caL. howevR f d fone rang thN dey mite sA "I'm actually @ lch w my frNd @ d moment, cn I caL U bak?" bt rght nw dey' 'tex ting,' :-) 2 thinly spread thR ATTN Btwen U & thR damn mob fone. aftR dey preS snd dey' ask U 2 repeat yor last few sentences cuz n m@R how hard dey tried, dey didn't hear wot U jst sed cuz dey 'tex ting' rather thN listening! U repeat yorself of corS, bt jst lIk dem, U' nw w8N 4 d inevitable rply 2 d txt msg dey jst snt.

Nw tho, 'txt' iz infiltrating evry dA Lyf lIk Amrcn brand culture & fst f%d. ppl (especalE 3:o)z I notice) R stRtN 2 shut down d lngwij pRtz of thR brains n ordr 2 wrte emails & letRz composed entirely n txt msg shrt&. & w d limitation of onlE bn abL 2 snd 160 character msgz lifted, dey sEm 2 rejoice n an orG of ltl wrds w letRz missing & mammoth blocks of txt dat R unbroken by a paragraphs o punctuation.

Mo & mo ppl sEm 2 find it acceptable 2 snd emails RitN n 'txt.' Emails dat R az ugLE 2 L%k @ az dey R hard 2 rED. Huge blocks of airtight txt mixd & mangled 2geder lIk smashed cars n a rd. akcdnt. Ech diFicult sentence foLowN d last lIk d incoherent shards of QSO az a dentist worx on Hs patients teeth. d suffocated wrds Leav d reader racing 2 git 2 d nd of d email so az dey cn gasp 4 breath lIk a pearl diver aftR an impossibly lng exploration of d sea |=---|

I strain 2 undRstNd such msgz. dey rED lIk badly spLD brkn eng dat requires an F4t 2 decipher. It infuriates me knON dat d prsn hu rOt DIS spkz w d sAm mum tongue az I. dey teL me of corS dat it's fR EZer & quicker 2 rED & wrte 'txt' bt ther emails Leav me unconvinced of itz much hyped qualities.

"Yo, watch bin up2 l8ly dod hey? Happy BDAY!!! Woodwind u do2 celebr8+woodwind u get? I went 4 a meal on thurs wi faze me bro+his m8 2celebr8 Farrell+FA bs bdays.It woozy a lard, but even moor of a lard woozy my uncles 50th bay party on friday with much drinking and dancing thor I'd b doing YMCA sitting down huh? Ne ways rite me beak pronto s' il vogues plait simon...cya!"

Even scotl&z oldest tongue iz getin d text-message treatment az Gaelic-speaking mob fone usrz hav maNgD 2 devise a way 2 combine d two infamously diFicult lngwijz. 4 example asking 1 of d othR 60,000 Gaelic speakers n scotl& on a D8 hz Bin hacked down frm An Enid thus Omaha ri um? (wiL U go along w me?) 2 8Ucolrm? Desired nab saccharin, 4 wknd, hz Bin cut down 2 dn7n whIl sAN taped bleat, Gaelic 4 thk U, hz Bin cut 2 tap l@.

Marilyn Gillies, d compiler of Gaelic’s 1st text-message DxtnRE & editor of a youth-orientated Gaelic website, dismissed concrnz dat d txt abbreviated version of d lngwij wud undRmIn Gaelic literacy. Indeed she even went az fR az claiming dat it wud git chldrn in2 d habit of UzN d Gaelic n mo & mo contexts. bt personLlE I hav alredi seen evidence 2 sugest dat 'txt' duz indeed effect literacy, w ppl UzN txt abbrz not onlE n email bt also Cres Biz cmUnik8shnz & even job appz!

It sEmz howevR dat thOs hu luv 2 txt rubbish c%d b @ rsk of getin a painful payback 4 thR luv of txt n d form of a 'txt msg Injury' (TMI), a form of repetitive strain injury (RSI). A fact dat Australian authorities felt Cres Enuf 2 warrant a national awareness progrm n which Australians wer urged 2 practice 'safe txt'. tho I M not entirely sure wot dat involves.

Quite apart frm d fizikL concrnz of XSive 'txtN' iz d wori dat a grON # of ppl c%d actually bcm 'textaholics.' Fifty-five ppl wer bn trEtD n d UK last yr. @ an exclusive clinic 4 thOs suffering frm txt msg Addiction, a condition dat Dr Mark Collins, of d Priory Clinic n south-west LDN, claims iz a grON prob.

Of corS it wont b lng nw untl d useful mob fone n my pocket stRtz rec'vN spam txt msgz frm advertisers & scammers keen 2 liberate me frm my monE. dat wud problE lead 2 my fone spending mo tym switched off thN on, & f it got bad Enuf thN I wud ask my mob fone provider 2 simply remove d SMS functionality frm my fone.

I knO dat dEz dAz a mob fone iz mo ofn thN not much mo thN simply a fone, & az useful az I knO 'mob teknoloG' iz, I'd rather simply uz my fone d old fashioned way. f ppl wnt 2 hav a chat w me thN dey cn caL me cuz frm nw on i dnt do txt!


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