Thursday, August 26, 2010

The One Where the Next Generation is Effed

I read this article on today called "Parents, do you know what these texts mean?" and it had the following examples of 'text speak':

"N2 2CB. WBU?" which means "I'm into hallucinogenics. What about you?" (Obviously, someone ON hallucinogenics came up with this.)

"WTG 4 a \%/" which means "Want to go for a drink?" (I actually figured this one out on my own. It was literally the only one for which I was able to do that.)

"%*@:-(" which means "Hung-over and got a headache." (To me, this one says, "Marge Simpson is having an especially bad hair day.")

"ctn pos. tdtm l8r k? :** :"" apparently means "Can't talk now. Parent over shoulder. Talk dirty to me later, OK? Returning the kiss." (WHAT? I'd heard of POS before [which, to me, will ALWAYS stand for Piece of Shit], and l8r I understand. But. . .I don't even know. I think this actually means "Sorry, my cat is currently walking across my keyboard.")

"No 420? Wiyp?" means "No weed? What is your problem?" (I got the 420 reference. But I don't understand the Wiyp? part of it. We KNOW what the problem is. No weed. [Excuse me. No 420.])

"LM4a~~#ZZZZZZ>" means "Let's meet for a joint." (I honestly don't get this one AT ALL. Can someone explain it to me?)

OK, OK. I get that teenagers (and. . .pre-teens) all use this nonsense and call it communication. What killed me was this part of the article:

Once you get the hang of the language, you can try your hand at translating a real message found by Susan Shankle and Barbara Melton, co-authors of the book "What in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?"
The message reads:

"1 w45 50 j4ck3d up |457 n16h7. 1 5c0r3d 50m3 cr4ck 47 7h3 p4r7y 50 1'd h4v3 17 f0r 70n16h7 4nd 70m0rr0w, 4nd 7h3n J1mmy 700k 0ff w17h 17, 7h3 455h0|3! 1 4m 4|| j1773ry 4nd n33d 70 m337 up w17h y0u 70n16h7 4f73r my p4r3n75 7h1nk 1 4m 45|33p. c4n y0u m337 m3 47 b0j4n6|3'5 47 m1dn16h7 ju57 f0r 4 f3w m1nu735? 1 ju57 n33d 4 |177|3 4nd 1 c4n p4y y0u b4ck 0n m0nd4y, 1 pr0m153."


Admittedly, when I was first reading through this, I actually got the basic gist of the message. Once you read it for long enough, you get the basic way it goes. But still.

For those of you who don't speak idiot 'text speak,' the message says this:

"I was so jacked up last night. I scored some crack at the party so I'd have it for tonight and tomorrow, and then Jimmy took off with it, the asshole! I am all jittery and need to meet up with you tonight after my parents think I am asleep. Can you meet me at Bojangle's at midnight just for a few minutes? I just need a little and I can pay you back on Monday, I promise."

My first question, I guess, is this: is it all the stoners who are into this kind of thing? Because the article focused on an awful lot of drug references.

Secondly. . .WHAT is HAPPENING to writing? And reading? And speaking? As a former English major (That's another question. . .once you graduate, are you still whatever your major was? Would I be an English major, or would I be a former English major?), I love words. I love writing them (properly) and reading them (properly). And the fact that all the technology and really, really dumb teenagers we have now is rendering all that useless? Is so, so sad to me. It's also vaguely "A Clockwork Orange."

I'm worried for the day, 50 years from now, when my grandkids are writing me thank you texts notes (please, dear God, please let people continue to write thank you notes.) and they something like:

y0, 6r4ndm4, 7h4nk5 f0r 7h3 5w3473r. 17 r0ck5!!! -71mmy

(Also, if I DO end up giving my grandchildren sweaters, they will be BADASS SWEATERS! With skulls and hookers on them.)

I really am just sad about the state of things nowadays. Even when I was in high school and editing my (then) boyfriend's papers, I was like, "Why can't people WRITE?" And now we're using numbers instead of letters and pictures of Marge Simpson after a night out on the town.

I'm aware I'm probably coming across as a cranky old broad, destined to sit on the porch with her cats and shake my cane at those damn kids who WON'T GET THE EFF OFF MY LAWN!, but really? I think you should have to meet a certain standard of writing before graduating high school, or you just won't be allowed to graduate. Same with college. (And I don't mean to leave out the people who don't finish high school, or don't finish college. For y'all, I say before you get any kind of job, you have to pass a test of some kind, and if you're unable to do that, you can be given some kind of class or something.

Everything's going downhill in my brain right now, because it's kind of late, but trust me. It all makes sense. Stop writing like morons. Because every time you illustrate sexual acts with random keyboard symbols and every time you WrYtE LyKe Dis, and every time you use numbers instead of letters, God kills a kitten. And then he blames you.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, the really scary part is that I was able (without your translation) to read the whole paragraph about being jacked up. I'm never getting my kids cell phones. Maybe when they're like 30. Okay, they can buy their own then. :P Scary.