Txt msging is gr8t but im 2 sl0w @t it

By Henry Soong

It came down to the point that I was forced to buy a text messaging plan for my cell phone. Friends bored in lecture would bide their time doling out text messages: “I’m so bored. Save me. Please.” “Ur bed head is ridiculous this morning.” “lololol this hot girl totally fell asleep on my shoulder.”

I tried stopping the unwanted texts by courteously calling back to remind my friends that I, in fact, did not have a text plan. But their side of the conversation usually consisted of a curt, nasty hissing, “Don’t call me during class! It’s rude, dude.” Click. Dial tone.

At only fifteen cents per text, I was initially willing to accept the burden for these kinds of silly messages. I figured that as long as I didn’t get into the mind-numbing habit of texting all my friends about my professor’s ugly haircut myself, the extra dollar or two on my phone bill was OK.

In fact, I made it a personal point to stay a text virgin. Friends and acquaintances gasped in horror, finding out that I had used my phone solely for calling people. By abstaining from texting, I was staying above the influence of a tediously slow and time-consuming habit.

But when the holidays rolled around, and everyone felt the need to express their Christmas cheer through ubiquitously unpersonalized text messages, I was left with no choice. In lieu of paying an absurd price per text communiqué, I upgraded my cell phone plan and added 500 of the suckers a month.

Losing my text virginity doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m suddenly promiscuous. I’ve had my text plan for roughly four months now, but my Motorola Razr tells me that I have sent only a total of 222 text messages in that time. My basic arithmetic skills tell me I’m sending an average of less than two texts a day.

My words-per-minute while texting definitely attest to my amateurish skills, too. Using the Guinness World Record’s official competition sentence “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human,” my friends have determined that I take well over five minutes to correctly retype this message with correct punctuation. It takes the world record holder less than forty-five seconds.

By the numbers, I take great pride in being able to say that I haven’t succumbed to ravenous texting. Yet, as I browse through my sent message history, I find that far too many of my notes are short, mindless whachyadoin?s, whereyouat?s, and let’shangouts.

I sometimes catch myself tapping away at my keypad sending “I do not want to do hw” to friends who I know are dreading the same problem. Even when I’m sitting at my laptop with AIM, Google Gmail chat, and Skype all open, I find myself choosing inconveniently to reach for my cellphone over a crowd of other options to get my friends’ attentions. As if expecting that my belly-aching will free me from the responsibilities of homework, I push the “send” button and anxiously await reply.

Is it possible that despite my best efforts to text only when necessary, I am still just the average, if slow and infrequent, text messager? What is it about text messaging on cell phones that brings out the most banal conversation in us all?

The reality is that text messaging invades the few quiet moments of the day when we have time to think to ourselves. Interrupted are the daydreams in lecture halls, the awkward shuffling of strangers’ feet in an ascending elevator, and the austere silences before drifting off to sleep.

Instead, the pestering tapping sounds of cell phone keypads break our chance at contemplation, and we are left with the uninspired and frankly obvious “it’s 3 a.m., im gonna go 2 bed now” sort of conversation.


Henry is a freshman in Business. His Chinese New Year’s resolution is to text only in case of emergencies such as fires, tornados, or if the dining halls are serving pumpkin pie for dessert.