If you’re alive right now and have a number for your age, odds are you employ the use of language during any given day. Or any taken day, I suppose. Hopefully the language you choose is one you know – otherwise, it will likely be difficult to understand you. Either way, it is clear that language is a crux of the American society, almost to the degree of reality television. Yet, as our days get busier, we often can’t afford to get bogged down with properly composed communication. It’s a fast-paced society, and we no longer have the time for full sentences or even vowels in our words. Fortunately, as always, technology is there to help.If you were to look at the IM transcript of a chat between two twelve-year-old girls, what you’d find is a seemingly incomprehensible mass of consonants and exclamation points. To many, the conversation would be more massacre than message. But to those young ladies, the alphabet apocalypse within their IMs is a completely legible discussion, presumably about the historical accomplishments of Ernest Shackleton or the like. It’s a trend that is gaining momentum and, unlike Michael Jackson, is not limited to twelve-year-olds. The same gruesome grammar can be found in the cell-phone text messages of adults and the telegraphs of the elderly worldwide. This is truly a generation-spanning phenomenon.Indeed, the tech talk revolution is sweeping across the country, if not the world, and is taking recognizable language with it. In its place you’ll find arbitrary abbreviating, a disdain for punctuation and puzzlingly detailed little yellow smiley faces. Even the usefulness of distinguishable phrases is gone, effectively replaced with the grouping of words into simple acronyms, such as “brb” – “be right back,” “lol” – “laugh out loud” and “igttmdywmtbyanyps?” – “I’m going to the mall, do you want me to buy you a new yellow polo shirt?” Building upon the unintelligible foundation that Ebonics laid in the nineties, tech talk is taking the new millennium to unfathomable heights of rapid repartee, freeing up precious moments of the day to watch reality television.Sadly, however, this progress is not without a cost. As America becomes more inclined to get digital with its discussions, conventional forms of writing are becoming neglected. Handwriting, still suffering from the rift that formed between “cursive” and “legible” print, faces an accelerated decline, and as e-mail and IM become more prevalent at work and in school, citizens are losing the ability to compose documents in a non-digital way. A recent study conducted at a local college found that nearly a third of the student body were unable to hand-write a document. In the worst cases, the writing muscles in the hands of some students had atrophied to the point of ineffectuality. The rest had forgotten grip mechanics or letter structures. One girl was just dumb.There might be some hope for the proponents of the pen, for the revolution is not without resistance. Critics of the movement have formed under the banner “Write or Wrong” and are lobbying heavily for a return to a pen-and-paper based education system. This group of intrepid individuals is touring campuses and workplaces, enlisting the aid of those supporters who remember the good ol’ days of “passing notes” and “having my pen explode in my mouth while I’m mindlessly gnawing on it.” Sadly, the organization is having difficulty garnering the numbers they need, as a great many potential candidates are no longer able to sign the mailing list.And so, the future still looks bleak. As a result of the word-shortening tendencies, certain people have begun to question the necessity of some letters at all. These critics ask whether letters such as Q and Z, much like the penny and Paris Hilton, truly offer any useful service to the country, or if they’ve simply become a burden. Those at the forefront of this movement have even proposed legislation that would reduce the alphabet to a mere ten letters, which would include the five vowels alongside the five most commonly used consonants, as determined from a sample of 15 “Wheel of Fortune” episodes.If you’re at all concerned about this startling trend, it’s up to you to do something about it. Your local congressman, woman or thing needs to know that you are opposed to this movement, and that you don’t want to see anything happen to our beloved language. In fact, as soon as your reality television shows are over, you should go to the website of your congressfolk and find their contact information. Then, using clear, concise language, compose a letter that outlines your concerns and send it over. Be sure to spell-check and proofread for grammar, as well as . . . Actually, you know what, maybe you should just call. Or, rather, “aykwmysjc.” Janowitz can reached at email@example.com.
Discouragement, motivation, and other unhelpful tips
Once you make it to hysterical laughter over the thought of the amount of work you have left to do, you’ve reached peak college nihilism. Join the club. I’m so proud of you! /s.