Textese Hater™ and much admired spell-checker activist Rachel Kwiatkowski has acquired a license for her establishment, LoGoMaNiAcS AnOnYmOuS™, and has never been more busier! And as her blog post about teenage textese fad and its pitfalls that is currently sweeping the earth is wildly popular on my website, I figured, I will invite her once again to spell bound us with her wit and comedic satire. Rachel, take it over and thanks for your time! :)
Thanks Heart for your warm welcome! ;) Media has unfairly labelled me “A SPELL-CHECKER on steroids“, but I will blame their behavior on auto-correct.. Since the inception of LoGoMaNiAcS AnOnYmOuS™, people from all over the world have got in touch with me to discuss their misfortunes, mostly with their kids and their words, or lack thereof.. The goal of the organization is to deal with new-age problems that include the rampant use of textese, urban dictionary, internetslang.com, and countless conversations of undecipherable exchanges with “words” that don’t have a single vowel, no full stops, no commas, and apostrophes – those, they are all over the place and incorrectly placed!
Meetings are conducted in Berkmar High in Duluth, GA, on Thursday nights. People come in person, they login on Skype and I also read out a few questions that arrive via emails. There is a common grievance of every Generation X person, (there were a few Gen Yers once in a while), that seems to resonate with the rest of the group.
After many iterations over the months, we settled down on a format that seemed to be working great for the group. We have 4 different sections in the 2 hour meeting schedule. We sit down in the form of a closed group circle with chairs facing inward. We are all assigned number tags.
Section 1: Introductions and Coherent Speech?
Number 2, a dad, chooses to go first: I have immigrated from China in hopes of a better future in the USofA for my kids and us. One of the very many things about my teenage daughters’ lives this week that I have not been able to get to is after this seemingly polite exchange, the both have stopped talking to each other. What does this mean??
“dont make VBD for my FHO, INCYDK i already SNH and not me you STFU and hoping here that YGTI.”
I click on my slang dictionary app on my IPAD, which is appropriately named TYPO, to decipher the cryptic message.
“Don’t make a very big deal of my friends hanging out at our place. In case you didn’t know, I have already made note of your sarcasm here (SNH). And not me, you shut the f*** up and hope you get the get the idea of what I am trying to say.”
Number 5 gets up and moves into the center of the circle. She is tearing up even before she speaks. I am a single Mexican American mom of a 16 year old girl. I have had a row with my daughter this morning who turned 16 and got her extravagant birthday wish of riding in a limousine with 12 of her friends for 4 hours just yesterday evening.
The mostly single-sided conversation from her phone went something like this:
like mom, u think i cant speak jargon and good english language, but helloooooooooooo i can!!!!!!
you no, i have a jargon for people like you, elitist.
yep thats whatz u r, elitist!!!
Epic fail boooyah, you have a FACEPALM!!!!!!!
Number 4, a mother to a 20 year old college kid, reaches into her pocket to take out a print out what she brought along with her. She speaks deliberately as if to exhibit discretion.
“I have seriously considered quitting any contact with Mark until he is done with college and gets a job. At the very minimum, I don’t want to part of my son’s social media/internet world. I am worried I will be kept constantly updated on his deepest thoughts, which are as deep as they can get.”
Number 1, the guy with the salt and pepper hair talks. The early part of the century, the last decade, those were good days! There was a time when I would be annoyed if anyone, especially those in my family or friends replied to my emails with:
“Ahhhh, kewl, no worries Randy..
ur GR8 my frnd“
But, things have changed now, these days I find myself practicing texting and reading new daily entries into the Urban dictionary, worried I might get far behind the world that was moving so fast with his mobile phone technology and social media. I also plan to start a Meetup for the textese challenged, for people who are suffering silently and facing hurdles raising grammar-challenged kids on their own. I want to help those who have been called dense or accused of being totally off the chain by their own kids like me. I hope I am not fighting a lost war!
My son sent a shout-out to all family and friends this afternoon celebrating a very special occasion, said Number 9, Mr. Amangiri, passing his cell phone to show us a Facebook wall page:
Sucsfuly cmpltd 6 yrs of prfsionl career. Its unfrgettabl jrny wid wel suprtd colgues mentrs frnds peers n family, blsings of god. u all helped me to reach this, helpd me to becom wat I am today.. Thanks to you all – India Petroluem Ltd, UniLever Robotics & Automation, BuZ Systec – Mohd Imran, Abhinav Sangavkar, Subbu Meesala, Venkataswamynaidu Koppisetti, @vankayalapati avinash, kumar, @krishna patel, @aneesh prabhudeva, Ram Amangiri — with Raghu Yadav and 118 others.
As one by one, we read through the post, there was a certain sense of camaraderie that we felt, because we could see that a guy who was in his mid to late 20′s was equally capable of writing like a teenager with minimal language arts skills. Seriously, so much fail.
Number 3, the guy on Skype, did not bother much with small talk.
The struggle with semantics is killing me. Americans change an average of 4 careers in their lifetime, and so here I am, a parent counselor for my high school about to give up on it.. Parents complaining about their kids spending time more and more time on the internet, on stupidity, what’s more, analyzing others’ stupidity. I just don’t have an answer or a solution to this problem!
He shares a screenshot.
Ms. Brady, Number 8: My 14 year old daughter has probably already taken more selfies than anyone else in this world. Her email ID is Cr8zSexyHore99@…….com. She is on Instagram all day posting pictures of herself in different angles. She wants to be a “meme” when she grows up.
Some of her captions read,
I got me hurr did. #niftay #ilovetheweather #lovingmyself #freedom
Can’t decide, what are worse, her captions or her tweets:
Hellloooo! My am is well on it’s way!Looking 4ward 2 2day.Lots 2get dun be4 r wkend of classes! Shld hav sum X 2 tweet 2day so checkin w/?’s
Mr. Powell, Number 10: Jenny left her computer on as she was in a hurry to get to a sleep over at her friends. I decided to take a peek, like she says, bad mistake!
A message on a chat window read like this:
wots dis gurls problem? dayumm,
omigosh they busy trash talking bout me havent they?
dat b****…. Shd’v slapped her…
Ny way let go of it… Think of it like dis.. Mayb she had a bitter xperience wid a punk n tuk out d anger on u though u din deserve it
Chil like a penguin in the arctic man :)
see ya soooooon,xoxo
My future and my kids’ prospects looks bleak, is the world ending? Penguins now spotted in the Arctic??! What is next, regional dialects for textese???????????
I tried to gently nudge Number 6, a very distraught mother to let us know what was bothering her. When she seemed reluctant, to give her more time to gather herself, I read aloud from an email sent by a S. Nasreddin from Indonesia, she writes:
Hello Rachel, I think I’m gonna shoot myself the next time one of my students texts me/tweets me with that kind of writing-style, where he/she is capable of combining alphabets & numbers into one word!
“6ood m0rn1ng p3opLe! I hoP3 y0u enJoY youR w33kend! :lol: :D”
Number 6, chose not to give her last name, which was optional anyway.
As you know, the US Supreme Court has struck down DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 last week. This was on the sidelines that day, as we were celebrating a family reunion as we do each year. My son, 21 years old, stood up during dinner to toast himself and announced to us that he is gay. As I was thunderstruck with the sudden revelation and was overwhelmed with sorrow at being informed this publicly, my 19 year old daughter who sat next to me at the table, looked at me, glancing sideways and shouted,
The fact that DUH is officially a word in the mainstream world is always lost on me. I wonder if I die tomorrow, my kids might comfort each other by saying, “DUH, she was old!”
It is needless to say, she had the most impact this evening!
Section 2: Closing Serenity Prayer
During this phase of the meeting, we collectively assume the role of therapist and hold hands with our immediate neighbor for 10 minutes. As in a few meditation and yoga classes, this one involves chanting..
This goes on for as long as a sliver of a smile starts appearing even among the most distressed in the group and turns into a rambunctious laughter.. Of course, we breathe easy after, claiming to each other, what better way to vent than how our kids taught us to??!
Section 3: Diction Donations
Here is the content of the homework sheet that is due for the next meeting. An essay is due with the below words. And the theme is Generation Y: An inconvenient truth.
wake of tragedy
at the end of the day
It is good to be superfluous with the use and overkill of trite words than to talk elaborate sentences without a single vowel! Oh, and yes, I am not talking about the ubiquitous LOLs!!!
Section 4: Rewards for Coping
This is the part of the entire evening that is the most looked forward to. We finally conclude and agree that even with our common sof helplessness, there is nothing that can be done except for Darwin’s theory of ‘survival-of-the-fittest‘ to take precedence over our abstract hypotheses of how our kids will turn out to be!
A poignant moment for reflection for parents all over the world.
Boy there is hope! Future beauty queens of the world!
1. Obsessive interest in words.
2. Excessive and often incoherent talking.