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Alternative to text messaging on the horizon?

If it’s true that that there’s nothing new under sun, one day in the future we might read the following newspaper account:

The cell phone industry is in a panic today after reports that scores of teenagers have found a way to circumvent paying hundreds of dollars each month for text messaging. If the craze catches on, it could deprive the industry of billions of dollars in revenue.

“It’s diabolical,” said Henry Usurper, president of World Wireless. “The cell phone is as important to today’s American youth as credit cards, fast cars and Clearasil were to our generation. The sight of teenage girls texting each other while sitting in the back seat of an automobile has become an icon of American youth. Our young people have created a whole new shorthand of communication that has changed language as we know it and redefined the laws of grammar.

“For these same young people to devise a dastardly scheme to not pay for that privilege is, frankly, unconscionable. Or should I say, ‘wzup widat?’?”

Nothing at all, says 18-year old Joe Smith, whose father farms 25,000 acres of cotton, a crop which has taken on a tremendous rebirth in profits in recent years. (Pardon me, I couldn’t resist putting some positive news about cotton in a column.)

Smith, one of the first youths to discover this revolutionary means of communication, said, “Text messaging as we know it will soon become obsolete.”

I traveled to Louisiana recently to watch Smith demonstrate this so-called “dis” of the cell phone industry. Be forewarned, hard core cell phone users may have trouble grasping the concept.

“First,” Smith said, “Retrieve your cell phone, open it and push the red telephone icon. Then replace the cell phone in a pocket or purse.

“Locate the person with whom you wish to communicate. Warning, this may require walking or in extreme cases, some forethought and patience. Reach out with the hand usually reserved for holding the cell phone and tap the person with whom you plan to engage in conversation gently on the shoulder.

“When the person turns around, look him or her squarely in the eye. Take a breath. Then speak whatever communications are necessary directly at the person to whom you are speaking. Allow the words to reach the person’s ear, then listen for a response. Assimilate the response in your brain, then if necessary, respond again.”

“What a concept!” I exclaimed.

“If you are a teenage guy, repeat this process over and over until there is no longer a reason to continue talking,” Joe said.

“And if you’re a teenage girl?” I asked.

“You keep talking,” Joe said. “It’s free, you know.”

“Some things never change.”

“Yep,” said Joe as we walked toward his truck.

“Uh, Joe?”

“Yessir?” Joe replied.

“Nice talking to you.”

“Right,” Joe said, a smile creeping across his face. “Enjoyed talking to you, too.”


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