Monday, July 31, 2006

Txt Msgs

With what you hear, you'd think text messaging was invented by today's pre-teens. Ok, they have the cell phones we did not have decades ago, but we still managed to collapse our notes into very compact form.

"J&H arr 4p. Going to M with P. OLOP 10 tmrw ok? HAL tix in at TOFT." That would be one of Mom's text messages on a kitchen table note. Translated: "Jim and Huguette arriving 4pm. Going to Marnick's (diner) with Phyllis. Our Lady of Peace (church) 10:00 tomorrow ok? Holland America Line tickets in at Time Out For Travel."

Mom never used a name if an initial would do. Sometimes it seemed as if entire letters were little more than text messages on paper, rather than cell phones.

Amateur Radio operators took their cue from the telegraph folks. Why use three dashes and four dots to send "and" when just four dots would do the trick with an agreed-upon abbreviation? The number 9 is four dashes and one dot ... unless you just send one dash and one dot; in context, it works fine. A common "loud, clear and stable" signal report would use eight dashes and seven dots, unless you "text messaged" it into two dashes and seven dots.

Braille, likewise, has its own contractions. The word "character" is properly spelled with just three raised dots in two "cells." The word "nationally" takes up but five. Several words only take up one cell each, while many others take up only two.

We may not use POS (Parent Over Shoulder) as a warning, but when I have a joke to send to a family, I'll note in a message, "after 9:30." It's our own text message for, "It's not something the kids should see, so I'll wait until they are in their rooms."

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