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I luv txt n email And Why Writing That Made Me Vomit In My Mouth

Rosettastone

The Rosetta Stone - helping us decipher phrases like "u r 2 cool 4 skool" since 196 BC

I think it’s no secret from the frequency and volume of verbosity on this site each week that I’m rather fond of the written language and, note to anyone who is lucky enough to have my phone digits, I prefer written communication to a phone call, to the point that when my phone rings, it can send me scuttling under a large object to hide in the dark like a cockroach running from the kitchen light. Yes, I love text and e-mail.

This isn’t to say that I prefer texting people who are sat opposite me in the pub to actual real verbal repartee, that would make me a teenager. I’m rather fond of a good bit of banter over a beverage, it’s just that for me, a text or an e-mail can seem far less intrusive or demanding than the nerve jangling ring tone of the teleblower.

I love the way a text or an e-mail can reveal so much about a person or a relationship. There are endless possibilities for sharing humour, stories, deep emotions and hard facts (saved-to-folder for a time when it might come in handy for blackmail/saving your derriere in court/making money from the press). There’s something so delightful about finding an old e-mail from a dear forgotten friend (some friend they turned out to be) and reliving the crazy buoyancy of your youth or cringing at the pompous way you used to rant about things that simply don’t figure on your radar any more (mind you, that skank in chemistry class really was a smelly poo head – you had a point).

Among some of my most highly treasured possessions are e-mails from my mother. Even though her message is coming to you electronically, you just know she’s thinking in calligraphy and dear lord, that is one articulate woman. I just love a personal message that has to be deciphered using a dictionary, a thesaurus and the Rosetta Stone!

E-mail and text, blessed bearers of babble that they are, are not entirely without fault. For every heart lifting moment I get when I see one pinging into my life, another comes along and chips away a little bit of my soul like a retarded stonemason. Why, you ask? Is it all the dreaded spam that causes me to die inside a little bit? No, it’s the fact that some of my nearest and dearest (and anyone else with access to a keyboard/keypad) think nothing of brutalising the English language to the point where it resembles an inbred hunchback with boss-eyes, body odour and webbed toes.

Aside from poor grammar and appalling spelling terrors (this is neither the time nor the place to go into all of those – we could be here for weeks!), there are some other particular e-mail and text faux pas that I find hard to swallow.

I’m sorry kids, I’m so not down with you. I will never “LOL” at what you just said, I do not feel “gr8” and I am most definitely refusing to join “u” in any other kind of silly unnecessary abbreviated shenanigan. I will “OMG” but that’s only because I’m being ironic and when said aloud, I will say ”O, M, G”, not “oh my god”. Don’t think I’m speaking your language; I’m mocking you with all my pedantic heart. Just because the method of communication is disposable, doesn’t mean you have to treat the English language as such.

Feel free to ROFL at me all you want but if you need me to put LOL/PMSL/LMAO at the end of something I just said to denote that what was said contains humour, then you probably won’t get the humour anyway. Move along now, there’s nothing for you here.

Little smiley faces are different. Sometimes the level of acid in my tone can be off the pH scale and so an occasional little cheeky wink is necessary, but only so that when you don’t see one, you know I actually do mean to cause you sincere and deep offense. Seriously, I hate you. No sarcasm.

I’ve been accused of being grumpy in my text and e-mails (who, Moi?!) and not because of the acerbic way in which I attack the subject matter and not because of my vile potty mouth. No, it’s for one simple reason that I was totally unaware of until just a few years ago. I don’t leave kisses after I sign off. WTF?! (Oh yeah, that’s right, I just WTF’d!)

No matter how genial I’ve been in the tone of my writing, apparently the fact I don’t leave a series of little x’s across the bottom of the screen means that I’ve somehow admitted to being in league with Beelzebub. It would seem that omitting kisses is akin to wishing a plague of herpes upon the reader and all their offspring. Seriously, WTF?!?!

Let us look at the humble origins of the x-as-a-kiss (possible citation needed but this is my blog, I shall re-write history as I see fit. Deal with it and move on).  It comes from people being illiterate and instead of signing one’s name, people without written skills would make their “mark” (a cross) and then, on really, really important documents, to show they really, reeeeally meant to keep their word, they would kiss their “mark”. Hey presto, the x-as-a-kiss was born and my written correspondence was doomed to a reputation of skullduggery and of having all the friendliness of a wasp with a sawn off shotgun.

I’m not illiterate, I can write my name and so do not need to sign off with a cack-handed pair of crossed lines in place of my signature. What’s more, I would like to analyse the frequency with which this kissing business is meted out and I shall demonstrate my point with a snippet of conversation between two friends via text:

(They’re imaginary friends so don’t worry too much about their names. You can give them some if you like. How about Bernard and Bernice? You can give them pets too if you want. How about jobs at the Post Office! Too much? *ahem* Back to my point)

Friend A: “Have you read any good blogs lately? xxx”
Friend B: “I have. I’ve just been learning about Shoe Recognition Techniques.  xxx”
And so on…

Nothing odd about this, is there? Or is there… Let us now move these two text-tastic little chums from the land of cyber and put them face to face in a bar.

Friend A: “Have you read any good blogs lately?” *leans across table and kisses friend B*
Friend B: “I have. I’ve just been learning about Shoe Recognition Techniques.” *leans across table and kisses friend A*
And so on…

Just plain weird and also a very long winded, energy-consuming way to carry out a basic social exchange.  If it’s ridiculous to dish out smooches after every uttered sentence in real life, why do we have to do it in written form? One of these serial kissers informed me that this plague of little x’s was like a sign-off, a polite full stop. No, I’ll tell you what a polite full stop is, it’s a single little dot after a written word to denote the ending of the sentence. A rude full stop would be me punching you in the face to stop you from reading.

I’ll admit, youthful abbreviations and overly affectionate sign-offs are very minor crimes when you take into consideration the colourful and creative ways in which people bludgeon grammar and spelling into a paste of sodomised words (seriously, not enough time or space to go into that little muckheap), but until they conduct e-mail and text lessons in schools across the land, I shall have to stand firm and proudly hold my ground, enjoying the finesse of the last few great e-mailers and the panache of those scant remaining wordketeers in my phone book who take their time to text in full. To all these brave, dwindling heroes, I blow kisses. xxx (LOL)

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About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

60 responses »

  1. I hear you on this (okay, I’m not hearing you since this isn’t a podcast but you get me, yeah? (Oh sorry, you can’t get me as I’m still here and you’re still, er, there. Wherever there is)).

    Jeez. I’m going off topic (oops. Jeez is shorthand for Jesus but I’ve been trained from an early age to not blaspheme so Jeez it must be).

    Sorry, where am I going with this? Oops. Why am I saying ‘sorry’? I’m sure I haven’t caused that much offence, have I? Or have I? You know what, let me get back to you (sigh. How can I get ‘back’ to you when I haven’t been ‘with’ you to begin with?)

    I think I need a lie down and a deep think before saying anything more. Sorry, that was meant to be ‘ typing’ anything more. Help! In cyberspace, no one can hear me scream…

    Reply
    • A suitably fearful reaction to such a pedantic blog post. Just the way I like it.

      Bow down and worship. (While you’re down there, could you pick up the vowels that people dropped while texting?)

      Reply
      • Yes Ma’am. Who am I to say no to one whose utterances cast me into babblance (oh dear. Is that even a real word? This isn’t good)?

        Reply
  2. LOL. You have such a GSOH. When is your DOB as I must buy you a present? I won’t tell you what it is, that’s TBC ASAP. WTF am I asking you that for.. Sorry, talking BS. BTW, did I ever tell you about that MILF that I used to see? I bet you WLTM her. You probably think I’m a right SOB though. Right, off to watch BBC as HRH Prince Charles is on… RSVP.
    Okay. Enough. x

    Reply
  3. I really enjoyed this post. I love the language as well, and generally adhere to the proposition that short and direct has the best effect. However, sometimes some window dressing has some enhancement value, much as tastefully applied color accents improve the decor of a room. You have a gift, and I appreciate the way you use it.

    Reply
    • Thank you so very much. There’s nothing wrong with a short, succinct message, even I have been known to issue a one-worder, but it was one word spelt in full colour glory.

      Ok, I admit, I can’t actually name the time or place this one-worder occured but it happened. Promise!

      Reply
  4. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Beautiful . . . Keep fighting the good fight. Love it.

    Reply
  5. I’m feeling too self-conscious about my language, spelling and grammar to comment. 😉 A wink is okay, right? 😉 Uh oh, that’s two winks . . .

    Reply
  6. Omg I just ‘lolled’ on the train. My favourite line out of the whole thing was ‘seriously, I hate you. No sarcasm’ another epic scathing one liner from the bleached bitch! I love it. I hope in your next life you are reincarnated as a drag queen.

    Reply
  7. I was friends with someone (a guy actually) on Facebook who would end his messages to me “(guys name) xxx”. It struck me as a little feminine for a guy who liked restoring cars and was into heavy metal rock. Being that he was a Brit, I just figured it was something that you Brits did which was very nice.

    I don’t mind an occasional “xx” or “(((HUGS)))”. It’s a way for some to convey their feelings since they can’t be there in person to do it personally. I am one, though, who uses LMAO, ROFLMFAO and LOL alot. I mean “hahahahahahahahahaha” takes up too much room especially on twitter. I never use “u” or “r” when texting. That’s too juvenile for someone my age. Then again when I get a text it’s usually a “OMG, someone wants to actually speak to me???”. I use “OMG” alot also.

    Excellent post! Cracked me up! LOL!! 😉

    Reply
    • I find men littering the place with “xxx” a little odd too. I see those little x’s as being on the same level as using nauseating hearts to dot your i’s. This should be restricted to 12 year old girls and that’s it.

      I “ha ha” instead of LOLing. You can imagine how well I get on with Twitter.

      Reply
  8. It was just a matter of time before writing started to become as ADHD as people are. I absolutely loved this post and find myself more prone to texting or e-mailing myself. It is the only way that I find I actually make sense ;). Going out on a limb and stretching the texting communities capabilities with this closing…xoxo

    Reply
  9. Holy crap, you just put everything I’ve been thinking in the last 10 years in a nutshell. Well done. Very well done.

    Reply
    • Hooray! I love moments like this, where people realise they’re not alone. We can form a club and sit there hating people who use single letters and numbers for entire words. If we wrote it all down instead of saying it, they would never know as they can’t read real words!

      Reply
  10. Uh oh, all this talk about texting makes my brain hurt. I’m feeling like that last person to give up the illuminated manuscript, kicking and screaming.

    Reply
  11. Spot on! No, I mean check your skirt. Left thigh. See it? Look closer. There, pretty obvious now, isn’t it? Not to worry. A little spot remover works wonders.

    Reply
  12. Rich Crete

    Well did! My biggest problem is the inaccuracy used in LOL or LMAO or ROFL. NO YOU”RE NOT!!!!!!! You either are letting someone know what you wrote was meant as humorous, in which case you should have written MAH or you are acknowledging that you got the joke…GTJ. Let’s get it straight people. Yesterday I got an email that really did make me laugh out loud. If I had told the writer LOL, she wouldn’t know I really did LOL so I had to tell her I laughed audibly. See what you punks are making me do?!?
    Great post. Thanks. (GPT)

    Reply
  13. my issue with text abbreviations is that my friends don’t know what they mean so are liable to respond “eh? wot d’you mean?”
    I tried the LOL abbreviation once or twice, only for the recipients to think I was sending them “Lots of Love” – I kind of don’t want this kind of misunderstanding of my emotions so now I stick to the more conventional “that was a very amusing remark, it made me chuckle.” Best all round to be clear, I feel.

    Reply
    • I know someone who recieved some very bad news from their mother, regarding the demise of a relative. The poor dear woman had tried to get down wid da kidz and ended it with what she thought was lots of love. That’s right, she LOL’d at a tragedy.

      Reply
  14. Missy Amber

    I get mangled gibberish on a regular basis from one of my friends. Takes me ruddy ages to decipher the things. Can you lend me that Rosetta Stone, if you’re done with it?

    Sample text:

    Hiya bgroups bin canceld unles ur in twn n wana go shakes x

    or how about:

    Dnt wory hope hes beta soon hopf c u mon x

    Read em and weep. (Sorry Alison – but it really is insane.)

    I must admit to actually and genuinely LOLling at the thought of your rude full stop punching me in the face.

    Reply
  15. I’m starting to think you’re a mad old lady living under a rock .
    However , I’m very much in love the the way you write . (^.^)

    Reply
    • Oi! Less of the old! The rock part may be true though.

      Reply
      • Ah you’ve noticed ? Interesting *strokes imaginary beard* .

        Reply
        • Missy Amber

          How very dare you! I shall take offence on PFPT’s behalf (as all good sisters should). Can you not see from her profile pic that she is the very essence of a hotty? Mad old lady indeed. That’s my job. And my corner of The Shire is basically the underside of a rock. PFPT, however, lives a life of champagne and fairy dust and very gorgeous shoes. Don’t let her try to convince you otherwise, dear fellow readers.

          Reply
          • Indeed . I enjoy pulling pfpt’s foot (see what I did there :p ), so don’t go taking offense just yet :p . Incidentally I was trying to gauge how old she is my figuring out how outraged she was and working back…. but as it turns out mold#1(mad old lady (you can be #2)) seems to be beyond that sort trickery . :O

            Reply
  16. Sorry girl, I’m so not there with you. I was a cranky old guy for a while, but then I realized this is the wave of future communication. GWTT. Actually, I’m still a cranky old guy who occasionally tests the waters with text abbreviations to see if i can be hip, but obviously I can’t.
    Oh well, WTF.

    Keep on spewing out those cranky posts, we love you, your language, potty mouth and wit.

    Across the pond, XXX

    Reply
    • *sigh* I suppose if you keep your truncated spellings confined to texts aimed at 20 year olds, I shall turn a blind eye. I shall also refrain from asking why you’re texting 20 year olds…

      Sending you love back across the pond! *insert kisses here*

      Reply
  17. Great post! I almost always refuse to use abbreviations in text messages. Yes, it takes me twice as long to reply to people, but at least I’m standing firm in the fight against the destruction of the English language.

    Reply
  18. I have a confession to make… I actually read the comments on You Tube so that I can find the most horrible infractions. What can I say? It’s a guilty pleasure. It’s like the People of WalMart for the English language. 😛

    P.S. I love smileys and I can’t stop myself.

    Reply
  19. You, Caustic One Across the Pond, are my hero. Everything you said. Every word.

    I’m thinking there ought to be a mark for spitting as well as kissing, just to be clear about being on the Dark Side. Maybe (.) or (8) if you want to make it juicy.

    I do have one other serious issue with email as opposed to actual voice to voice communication. Miscommunication is too easy. People take offense when none is intended (again that erroneous connection to the Underworld). If there’s something important or delicate to discuss, it’s much better to make sure other cues are included (tone of voice, immediate clarification, facial expression). At least that’s my experience. Maybe it’s my lack of XXXXX (?) (8).

    Reply
    • I LOVE your concepe of a punctuation mark to denote gobbing a greeny in someone’s face. A mark of pure disdain.

      You are all too correct that the tone of a written message can be grossly contorted on receipt. I like to call someone up first and then follow it with an e-mail, confirming what I just shouted abusively at them.

      Reply
  20. What about the rather deceptive sign-off “Thx”? There’s a certain young lady I work with who uses it liberally, setting my sorry middle-aged heart racing every time. I’m sure she does it on purpose.

    Reply
    • Vile. I hate a pleasantry that’s only half written. It seems to detract from the warm fuzzy sentiment with which it was intended. It’s almost like the written version of a shoulder shrug.

      Reply
  21. randomsensibility

    Okay, this could so not be more true! You are the best! I go to online school, and in the virtual classrooms, people type in as such: “afishint” (efficient) “ocsajen” (oxygen) and “vanes” or “vines” (veins, being the intended word). It’s even worse on YouTube. Here’s to cyber-grammar, spelling, and punctuation! xxx (oh, god, no!)

    Reply
    • This scares me because the fact you and your fellow students appear to be using medical words would denote that they are trying to gain qualifications that give them access to people’s health. Can they even spell “people”?

      Reply
  22. Diego Serrano

    loved it, so forgive for not hitting the like button

    Reply
    • Forgiven. I’m campaiging to have additional buttons installed. I’m thinking “This was so funny I wet myself”, “I loved this more than booze” and how about “I cry myself to sleep at night because I will never be able to write anything like this”.

      Reply
  23. Love the way you use words. “good bit of banter over a beverage”, “thinking in calligraphy”. “people bludgeon grammar and spelling into a paste of sodomised words”. Just terrific.

    Reply
  24. Haha. Delicious writing, as per usual. Please, oh, please, do one on the “colourful and creative ways in which people bludgeon grammar and spelling into a paste of sodomised words” with a cherry on top?

    Reply
    • Not a chance! You can imagine how many sleepless nights I would spend spellchecking it, only to have one glaring cock-up there for all mock. The “people in glass houses” comments would be endless!

      Tempting though…

      Reply

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