Remember car phones? Those clunky hunks of junk with huge antennas that used high-power transmitters to allow people to communicate with others within their mobile network from the confines of their own automobile? Yeah, neither do I.

It’s downright silly how fast technology can change. One second, you’re popping a five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disk into your Apple Mac II, the next you’re watching Internet porn on your iPhone. The pace of technology has become so fast that apparently Bill Gates expects computers to be able to communicate with humans in the near future. What the hell!? Didn’t anyone pay attention during “I, Robot”?

Perhaps no gadgetry has been as influential over the past 20 years as the cell phone. Going from a means of communication to a necessity of existence, the cell phone has been paramount in its ability to dictate the pulse of contemporary culture.

For proof of this, look no further than the modern phenomenon of text messaging (or “txt msging” for those hip to the lingo). On the River Campus, there are probably a total of 10 people who don’t text message because they’re either too cheap or totally alienated from society.

Can you imagine a world without text messaging? How would we get ahold of our friends during class or passively flirt with the opposite sex? When could we check sports scores and movie times? Would the world explode?

For many, the answer to the final question is a resounding yes. Some have become so dependent on text messaging that a world without it is not worth living in.

These professional texters come from all walks of life, and through their efforts, they have developed a strict code of texting etiquette that has greatly altered the norms of the mode as we know it. An abbreviated account of this code is as follows:

1) Never respond to a text within one minute of receiving it. That’s creepy and shows you care too much.

2) When flirting with a member of the opposite sex, always use smiley faces and those cute little icons that are preloaded in your phone. This will get you ass.

3) Know the power of T9.

4) Abbreviate when necessary, but never use “obv,” “LOL” or “2” (i.e. “I’m obv 2 legit 2 quit LOL”).

5) Get the unlimited texting plan or you’re screwed. Texting, no matter how burdensome or time consuming, is always better than calling someone or seeing them in person.

The fifth rule is the cornerstone of this doctrine. Many texters have stopped speaking altogether, preferring to communicate solely through text. These people may be social butterflies in text land but when you see them in person, they curl into ball and suck their thumbs.

Their rationale for this type of behavior is simple. You know when you plan out a whole conversation with a person you like, but when you actually talk to them your plan goes to shit and you’re left stuttering and profusely sweating as the other person thinks about what a tool you are? Texting avoids this altogether, giving the speaker the ability to change his words with the click of a button.

Girls have said that they think it is cute and flattering when they receive a text from a guy and that they prefer it to getting a good old-fashioned phone call. If she actually enjoys the carefully constructed text on the screen of her phone bearing no tone or inflection over the often clumsy yet always passionate words of the mouth, then she must be either a robot or a shallow bitch.

As technology advances, convenience will trump perseverance. Through triumphs like texting, AIM and whatever comes next, it will become easier to “communicate” with our peers, as the art of language devolves to abbreviations and smiley faces to evoke our emotions.

If we wanted to be cavemen, we would grunt and groan to speak and beat our partners over the head with clubs when it was time for sex. I’m not entirely sure that this is what we want, but, if so, then text away!

Milbrand is a member ofthe class of 2008.

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