I have friends who text one another while sitting in the same room. I am not kidding. Now I admit that I text like a maniac. The texting plague infected me pretty early, considering that I’m an old guy. It happened when I figured out if I didn’t start texting I’d become as irrelevant as a traffic light in Juarez. I haven’t reached my friends’ level of text addiction, but without texting I would have missed a lot of critical messages. Here are some of the ones I’ve received in the recent past:
: – )
Do you need some quick cash for bills and expenses? You can get up to $1500 tomorrow!
Do you feel like you have had a major ass whipping?
We’ll bring pie
Missing any one of those communications might have smashed my life to tragic splinters like a tornado ripping through Santa’s Toyland. Instead, I have been spared idiotic blunders and hollow uncertainty because somebody invented texting and somebody else sold me a phone plan with unlimited texting, because I sure wouldn’t pay a nickel apiece for the damn things.
However, now that we text as habitually as chimps pick lice, the wicked side of texting has manifested. We not only text while cooking, listening to our bosses, and sitting on the toilet, we also text while driving. We look down to be sure our thumbs hit ROTFL instead of EEYOR, and then we’re barreling through the Applebee’s parking lot.
The solution is obvious. No, we should not pass laws banning texting while driving. That would keep us from texting, which is insanity. Instead, I challenge those who invented texting to employ their powerful technical brains and create cell phones that let us just speak into our phones, which would turn the speech into text and then send the text message. That would let us keep one hand on the wheel and one hand on our caramel macchiato. Problem solved.
Or, I guess it’s mostly solved. When we receive a text we have to look at our phone and punch a button or two. That presents a lesser danger, but we still might smack a careless bicyclist or something. We need to apply the same technology in reverse, rendering an incoming text into speech and allowing us to look at the road, the obscene gas prices at 7-11, and the jogger who’s wearing not much more than a string bikini. Problem solved. Again.
But I sense an opportunity here. Since we’ve gone so far as to employ speech on both ends of the message, let’s push it to the logical endpoint. Skip the text altogether and just let us speak at the cell phone, enabling the recipient to hear us as we say the words. We could say, “JSU B4 U CMMT CS,” while dodging SUVs, and our friend could immediately say, “BMOTA U ID10T,” in response. In fact, this could be made to work almost in real time and could approximate live verbal communication. That would of course be the ultimate logical extension of safe texting technology.
Isn’t this a wonderful age in which to be alive?