I use my phone to text. A lot. I’ve mentioned this before but it’s sort of sad how far I’ve strayed from using my cell phone as anything but an elaborate texting device. I discovered a few weeks ago that if I look straight ahead and sort of refuse to concentrate on anything that I can text while walking with rather astounding accuracy in both tasks. And I use an old-school phone. Just nine numbers, a star and a pound sign. I contest that this is a good thing for me. I’m not real sure how to back that up. But I swear it’s true.
We’ll gloss over the whole “over the past five thousand years humanity has moved from an oral tradition to a written one so clearly there’s a large advantage to this” thing. We’ll just move onto Google texts. If you don’t know, you can text questions to Google and they’ll answer them. You just send a text to G-O-O-G-L (466-45). It’s a little crude but you can get some decent information out of them. If you type “Define” at the start of your text it usually works best. Or, if you’re savvy like me, you can just type “D” and then whatever it is you want information on.
Granted, it’s nice to be able to tell instantly who wrote songs from the eighties (text “D Sunglasses at Night” to 466-45) but that’s not what I’m driving at. What I really use it for is improving my vocabulary. Or at least that’s the selling point I use when people tell me that texting is rotting my brain. When I used to come across I word I didn’t know while I was reading I used to think about getting up and finding a dictionary, look across the room at my bookshelf, sigh, and then go back to reading and hope that the word wasn’t too important. Now I grab my phone out of my pocket, text Google for a definition, then go back to reading. A few seconds later my phone beeps and I have my definition. Google is making me smarter. I swear it is.
Although not smart enough to understand the thinking behind the T9 programmers. Sorry for another brief texting tutorial, but if you don’t know what this is it’s a texting program that sort of guesses what word you are trying to type. You just push each key once per letter, rather than pressing each key to cycle through letters, and your phone spits out the words that can be formed. So if you press 2-6-3 the word “And” automatically pops up. And if you cycle through the word “Cod” appears, also, apparently, able to be formed by those numbers. Fair enough. What baffles me is why, when I try to type, “Freaking,” as in, “This post is freaking weird,” my phone spits out one and only one word: Freakhog. Granted, I can go back and manually enter the word I need, but, what the hell? What dictionary did they download into my phone? And then there’s, “Blowout.” When I type that in my phone obviously thinks I’m trying to type in “Clowntv.”
Like I said, I type fast. And it’s improving my vocabulary. Problem is, when those two functions collide I sometimes found I’ve pressed send on a text without thinking about what I actually wrote and I wind up trying to say things like, “That party last night was a freaking blowout.” (okay, never in my life have I ever even thought a string of words anywhere close to that but you understand what’s coming) Only what comes out is, “That party last night was a freakhog clowntv.”
Maybe texting isn’t so good.