I am facing extinction. Technology-extinction, to be precise. I’m not incapable. I don’t fear computers; computers fear me. I program my VCR and I set up my wireless network at home. After a trip to Fry’s, I fiddle with a screwdriver for a while, and a PC appears on my desk. Yet I’ll soon be exiled to the technology ice floe and thereafter devoured by a killer whale that’s sick of eating seal. This is because I cannot understand, nor be understood by, my fellow men of technology.

My god-daughter Wendy, a sweet 9th grader, drove this realization through my heart yesterday. She sent me a text that vibrated with excitement. I text a lot, but I text in real words. Sometimes I use punctuation. Occasionally I use semicolons. Wendy’s text was:

USBM- c ths gr8 pm

? i cmpr u 2 smmr dy
u r HPOA & kewl
rf wnds FUBAR prtty flwrs f my
smmr O
smtms sn FAH
& smtms sn SITD
& evry CSA smtms gs 2 hll
by SOL or SOP
bt ur a BBW 4evr
u wnt bcm a BUFF
u wnt ESAD
whn u & ths pm r BFFTTE

whl mn LLAP or i’s cn c
whl ths is AAS no AMF 4 u

She really is a sweet girl. So I texted her back, saying, “What is this? Do you have a brain tumor?” She responded:

N! ‘tis shkspr

I pondered this for several hours. Finally I realized that this was supposed to be Shakespeare! Specifically, this should be Sonnet 18, which it resembles in no way. Sonnet 18 is:

Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft’ is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

I sent Wendy another text, saying, “I don’t get it. Help me understand, or I’ll show up at your freshman prom with a video camera and a powder blue tuxedo.” To which Wendy texted in reply:

USBM ur qt

Should I compare you to a summer day?
You are a Hot Piece Of Ass and cool:
Rough winds Fuck Up Beyond All Recognition the pretty flowers of May,
Summer’s Over:
Sometimes the sun is Fucking Ass Hot,
And sometimes the sun is Sitting In The Dark;
And every Cool Sweet Awesome sometimes goes to hell,
By Shit Out of Luck or Standard Operating Procedure:
But you’re a Big Beautiful Woman forever
You won’t become a Big Ugly Fat Fucker;
You won’t Eat Shit And Die,
When you and this poem are Best Friends Forever Til The End:

While men Live Long And Prosper or eyes can see:
While this is Alive And Smiling no Adios Mother Fucker for you.

The fact that I didn’t comprehend her first text tells me that I shall soon be as dead as a diplodocus. But that is merely the third most pathetic fact in this saga. The second most pathetic fact is that I realized USBM means “Uncle Satan Bastard Man.”

And the most pathetic fact of all? Wendy’s revised version, all spelled out, is more understandable than the original.

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