From all appearances, most teens believe that text messaging is second in importance only to breathing.
The other night I was at some friends’ house. Their son does a lot of text messaging. “This month’s phone bill arrived in a box instead of an envelope,” his mother told us.
I thought this odd until their son, Chris,* added with an air of pride, “I sent 9,000 text messages last month.” As a result, the family’s phone bill printout was approximately the size of a typical school yearbook.
I am not surprised that Chris sent 9,000 text messages, but I am amazed that he does not require weekly physical therapy for each finger as a result of this obsessive activity.
But now, after thinking about this whole thing for several seconds, I believe I understand why text messaging is such a critical part of the teenager’s communication arsenal. For those of you who do not have this feature available on your cell phone, you may wish to share this column with your parents. It may help persuade them of your need. As for those of you who do not yet possess a cell phone, I will write soon on the subject of smoke signaling.
Meanwhile, my research indicates that the following are excellent reasons to remain hog-tied to your text messaging device.
1. Text messaging helps produce warm interpersonal relationships.
Many people think of electronic communication as highly impersonal. This is not true. The following incident will prove my point beyond all doubt.
“Dunston, I have totally had it with you text messaging your girlfriend, Pimples, during my Introduction to Electrical Conduction class. I want to see you in my office immediately after the bell rings!”
Minutes later, Dunston and Mr. Watts are engaged in rich and meaningful interaction, just the two of them. Mr. Watts is obviously deeply moved, as evidenced by his wild gestures and foaming at the mouth. Dunston also appears to be overcome with emotion, the trembling of his body a clear indicator that these precious moments between student and teacher will not soon be forgotten.
And none of this likely would have occurred were it not for text messaging.
2. Text messaging saves time and improves clarity of communication. Believe it or not, it took me only six hours to convert the following sample exchange between myself and the reader into text lingo:
HELLO. (Has Everyone Laughed Loudly [and] Obnoxiously?)
HI. ([You are] Humorless [and] Idiotic.)
ARE YOU @ WORK? (Am Really Enjoying Your Observations; Ultimately Aiming [for] Wacky, Outrageous, Riotous Komedy.)
YES. (Your “Entertainment” Stinks.)
CU L8R. (Cleaning Up [now. My dog] Lester Ate [a] Rat.)
SO LONG. (Stupid Old Lester. [Going] Offline. Now Gagging.)
Even though you may be tempted to spend several hours each day saving time with text messaging, do not neglect your devotional life. God has shared some very important messages in those Bible texts, and if you end up on the wrong side of the pearly gates after they close, all the text messaging in the world isn’t going to help you.
So remember this little bit of text messaging lingo: PUT GOD FIRST. (Put God First.) Am I making myself clear?
*His real name.