Monday, August 3, 2009

When Parents Text, Everyone Wins

A week or so ago, Brooke's dad (who has just recently learned to send text messages) called Brooke with this question: "When do I know to stop texting?"

Um, LOL? But seriously, it's not a bad question. Certain situations are easier than others. Like when you text a girl at 2:00 a.m. "Want to meet up?" and she texts back "Already home – maybe brunch tomorrow?" obviously the conversation is over.

But by and large the medium is a tricky format. Whereas you can ignore a phone call or put off responding to an e-mail, the whole point of a text message is instant communication. Once you have engaged in a conversation, you can't very well ignore it at will. Like this actual text conversation from a few months ago:

11:02 p.m. Friend: "Dude, did you watch Lost?"
11:04 p.m. Me: "Yeah. This show is going bonkers."
11:05 p.m. Friend: "I know. What's with all the insane time travel shit?"

(the next morning)

10:31 a.m. Me: "It's nuts."
10:33 a.m. Friend: "What?"
10:37 a.m. Me: "The time travel on Lost. It's crazy."
10:38 a.m. Friend: "You're an asshole."

But because husband and wife writer team Evie and Jack Shoeman are the only ones willing to write the definitive Text Messaging Survival Guide (Sally thought she knew what 'TTYL' meant. Sally was wrong – dead wrong), newcomers to text-messaging, particularly those who may be accustomed to the politesse of phone call sign-offs like "Goodbye" or "Go to hell, crap bag!", are left floundering to decipher the rules. (Like how when my mom first started instant messaging she would finish every message with "Love, Mom." Like "Good morning, Dan! Love, Mom.")

And when they go to more experienced texters for guidance (like Brooke's dad did), novices are met with confused looks or pitiful head-tilts meant to convey a sympathetic appreciation for the quaint notion that there are no stupid questions, only stupid people who are afraid to ask questions, because boy that was a stupid question.

(Note: Brooke's dad is in white, and hasn't yet figured out auto-spelling or how to punctuate.)

But the thing it, it's not a stupid question! Think about it: When do you know to stop texting? It's like the old, "I love you," "No, I love you," "You hang up first," "No, you hang up first!" conversation which goes back and forth until someone literally drowns in a saccharine mess of high fructose corny syrup. The short one-liners and cute sign-offs could go on ad infinitum. Even practiced texters have trouble determining the end point of a conversation, like when girls fret over a guy they like who isn't texting them back even though the last thing they wrote to them was "Bye." "But it's his turn!" they might say, as though there is some huge scoreboard that keeps track of who texted whom last and all text message sign-offs are mere place holders in the time-space continuum for one eternal conversation to pause and resume.

No, I like it better Brooke's dad's way.


Anonymous The Maiden Metallurgist said...

Hahaha My mom always randomly responds to texts three days after I forgot I ever sent them.

August 3, 2009 at 3:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin Mc said...

My dad just texts back with "I love you too" no matter what I've said to him because it's automatically saved in his phone.

August 3, 2009 at 3:09:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Erin said...

I LOVE this post. I'm always screaming at the texter on the other end of my phone: STOP TEXTING, I WAS OVER IT 4 TEXTS AGO!!! But they never hear me.

August 3, 2009 at 3:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger LiLu said...

It was a dark day when my parents learned to text. But I suppose it's better than the 40 lolcats they used to send me every day.

August 3, 2009 at 5:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Allison Hatfield said...

my dad doesn't text but he is contemplating writing a facebook etiquette book

August 3, 2009 at 7:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kat said...

This guy is fantastic! :p

My dad just sends me emails from his blackberry, which somehow always sound really angry.

August 4, 2009 at 12:30:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Molly said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 4, 2009 at 2:44:00 AM EDT  
Blogger molls said...

I don't understand how my dad's texts are indecipherable...he has an iPhone with a full keyboard and auto-correct. how hard is it to type complete sentences?!
and p.s. I think you & brooke should write a redacted-style texting survival guide...

August 4, 2009 at 2:46:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous juniperjune said...

bwahaha i love "as we discussed"

August 4, 2009 at 2:20:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


August 4, 2009 at 6:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Trooper Thorn said...

Or the person that sends three different questions in three different messages one after the other and you can never "back-up" to respond in order.

August 4, 2009 at 7:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger kittywithamustache said...


August 22, 2009 at 11:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jon said...

If your man is pushing you away and acting distant

Or if the guy you’re after isn’t giving you the time of day...

Then it’s time to pull out all the stops.

Because 99% of the time, there is only 1 thing you can say to a standoffish guy that will grab him by the heartstrings-

And get his blood pumping at just the thought of you.

Insert subject line here and link it to: <=========> Your ex won’t be able to resist?

Once you say this to him, or even send this simple phrase in a text message...

It will flip his world upside down and you will suddenly find him chasing you-

And even begging to be with you.

Here’s what I’m talking about: <=========> Is your man hiding something? He may need your help?

Thanks again.


June 25, 2017 at 9:33:00 AM EDT  

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