Saturday, August 27, 2011

Get Rid of Text Messaging

The other day I was walking out of Wal-Mart, and a young woman with her face glued to a cell phone was walking in, texting as she went, oblivious to anything that was happening around her. At the last second I side stepped out of the way or she would’ve walked into my chest. I side stepped, and she kept going, fingers of fury, 100% unaware. Then I imagined that same woman behind the wheel, going 65MPH, and how mad I would be if I had to drive into the ditch to avoid a head-on accident, while she kept driving, eyes off the road, another LOL or smiley face.

So I ask: Why can’t government make cell phone companies drop text messaging capabilities?

Before you jump down my throat about big brother’s watchful eye, I ask you to think about what good text messaging has brought to society. It helps you avoid conversations, I suppose, which I dislike, and occasionally it saves time, I guess. Other than that: What has it added? If you are aged between 14 and 24 (but all ages are guilty on some level) you are most likely largely unable to communicate on a total scale. You live on your text messaging screen, unwilling to focus on anything else for any extended period of time.

Exhibit A. Last night we went to dinner at D’Raymond’s. The four of us talked for two straight hours, catching up, telling stories, etc. The night before, we were at Friendly’s, sitting across from five teens-early 20's eating ice cream. There was not a speck of conversation. All five of them had cell phones flipped open, texting people who weren’t there, presumably. For me that was a scary thing to see. When we paid our bill that same night, the cashier was texting while on the clock, and we had to wait till she was finished. Wow, I thought, when did that start?

Even more than that is the knowledge that people are texting while engaging in activities that require 100% focus. The scariest of these situations, for any age, is driving while texting. As a driver that really terrifies me. I cannot imagine my life, or the life of a loved one, terminated or diminished because somebody was busy sending a text message, caused a major collision. Can you imagine your life ending that way?

Just get rid of text messaging. Eliminate the capability in cell phones, across the board. Why do we need it? For every PRO there are 20 CONS, with serious consequences. I am not suggesting getting rid of cell phones or handicapping any other email or technology advance, of course not. That would be like trying to stop a runaway freight with a wet napkin. But, in my opinion, text messaging has proven to be far too much of a distraction. It has marginalized communication, in younger and older people. And no number of laws prohibiting texting while driving is going to stop it. People will still do it, still crash/cause crashes, still die in accidents where texting played a part.

When people watch the news, and wonder about the recent slippage of the almighty America, I wonder if the introduction of this little technology (these kinds at least) are playing a part. Maybe. We're so engrossed in these phones. Even at McCartney people were on their phones all over the arena. I know everybody reading this has a text messaging story like the one I began with. "But, Brian, how would we text in our vote for American Idol on Wednesday nights?” That’s not a problem I considered here, but I’m sure there’s a solution.

Remember when you had a crush on a really cute/popular girl in school? Then a friend of a friend told you that she liked you, and the next move was making the dreaded first call. You’d pace by the phone, put it off, make excuses. Then finally you grabbed that receiver, sweaty handed, dialed her number, and it would ring, and her father ALWAYS answered with that gruff, irritated, “Hello.” It was up to you to say who you were, why you were calling, and then she got the phone from dad, and it was game on. Could you talk your way into a Friday night date at Secrets or Hoyt’s, or did you just strike out? What a great time. What a great test of character. Now all that’s out the window, replaced with a sent text message. Just like Jack says in A FEW GOOD MEN, “All you did was weaken a country today, Kaffee. That's all you did. ...”

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Brian Huba


  1. You are right on! I can't stand text messaging. We spend so much time trying to be connected with people who are not in our presence that we lose touch with the people that are right in front of us.

    I view it as an innovation of privacy. If you would most likely not call someone during dinner time or late at night to tell them some useless piece of information then why is it OK to text them? I am looking at this from a family perspective. Are we ever REALLY alone anymore? Anyone can interject themselves into your private time anytime they want. Why do we feel the need to immediately respond as well? I could continue this rant for much longer but I think I made my point.

    I hate texting.

  2. I am a 22-year-old college student and I also agree. These phones have become 24/7 companions and their supposed benefits do not outweigh their certain detriments. If only more people could see this...

  3. I've been wanting to get rid of my cell phone for the longest time and go back to hand written letters and real conversations.
    Write me a letter 3 days before you want to hang out and where to meet you on what day and i'll for sure be there!
    I miss those days.
    I am more excited about a letter in the mail than an incoming text message.