Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Texts are like Cows

I kind of hate text messages.  Do you kind of hate text messages?

Let me tell you why I feel so. 

But before I do that, I may as well say what they're good for.  Text messages are great for relaying one small bit of info, such as, "The dog has been fed", or, "Your house just burned down."  Or asking a simple question, like, "Can I eat your last doughnut?"  That's probably easier than making a phone call, right?  And obviously texts are better when no noise is allowed, such as during a dance recital.

Text messages are also less time-sensitive than phone calls, which can be nice if you're busy baking a pie.  (And even if you're not busy, you can always pretend you're busy....like when a girl you don't like texts to ask about your weekend plans.  This has not happened even once, though.)  And perhaps what texts are best suited for, something that really makes them worthwhile, is mass communication, such as inviting a 100 people to a fondue party on short notice, or changing the details of a rendezvous involving 600 people. 

And that's all nice.  Pretty nice.  But I still kind of hate text messages. And that's because far too often we lose our way as a society, and use text messages for what they are very poorly suited:

Extended conversations.

I hate it when text messages are used to have an extended conversation.  In fact, I loathe it.  But I don't abhor it, that's going too far. 

Here's the point.  When used for long conversations, texts usually become:

  1. Distracting.  They're like an interrupting cow, and especially so if your ringer sounds like a "MOOO!!" (Kudos to you if this is the case.)  I generally have a pretty one-track mind (1.5 on a good day), so when I settle down to a task only to be interrupted over and over by a cow, it really slows me down.  If it were a mule it might not be as bad. 
  2. Extremely inefficient.  An unofficial experiment just now showed that it takes about six times as long to enter a text message as to just speak it.  That's not so bad if it's a one-word message, as it doesn't take long to say a word like "Freakazoid!"  But imagine if you had to enter this entire blog post into your phone.  Or better yet, imagine if you were part of the hypothetical experiment where you place infinity monkeys in front of infinity typewriters until one of them types all the works of Shakespeare; only in this version, you are one of the monkeys, and you're using a cell phone instead of a typewriter.  Imagine how much faster you could inadvertently produce the entire works of Shakespeare by randomly talking instead of randomly enterting text on your phone?!  
  3. Expensive for people with crappy cell phone plans.  
  4. Inducers of tendonitis in the thumbs.   
  5. Characteristic of teenage girls:  I would ask, who is most known for their dexterous and voluminous production of messages comprised of text?  That's right, girls aged 13-17.  So do you want to be more, or less similar to a teenage girl?  Or perhaps you literally are one, in which case you get a temporary pass on this point.  You also get a prize, because I doubt anyone of your demographic will read this.
  6. Social Impropriety:  If you've ever read a Jane Austen novel, you know she's all about propriety.  And one sure way to violate her rules, and to lessen your chances of a happy marriage with Mr. Darcy or Elizabeth or whomever, is to send a lot of texts while in social settings.  I'm confident she would not approve. 

The bottom line for me is this:  You can be an interrupting cow, or you can not be an interrupting cow.  And don't forget there are pros and cons.  While "moos" can be annoying, even a cow of the interrupting variety can likely produce milk, and by association cheese and ice cream, which are always good, unless you're lactose intolerant, or trying to lose weight, or a vegan, or otherwise at odds with the dairy industry.

Or to put it another way, is the following your destiny?

"Knock, knock."
"Who's there?"
"Interrupting Cow."
"Interrupting C....."


  1. Love it! I feel the same way...
    Also, interrupting cow is Lauren's FAVORITE joke!

  2. I too hate texting. I never quite understood the point of extended conversation texting. I hate getting texts (in fact, they are now blocked on my phone) and I hate being around people when they are texting. It seems to have become okay to text someone while talking to someone else, which I find rude.

  3. I'm pretty sure I text you too much.

  4. That's my favorite Knock Knock joke!

  5. that was hilarious! oh, and when do I get my demographic prize? haha