About 24.7 times per week, I receive a text that reads “k” or “ok”. Nothing more, and sometimes in alternative versions (see also K, OKAY, OK, and okie dokie), these texts are an absolute waste of everyone’s time. I have to read them, senders take time to send them, and probably, some cellphone tower is pulling in extra power just so it can send thousands of confirmation texts per day.
The worst part, though, is that I’m guilty too. There’s this nagging social normality that forces me to send that “I’ll be there” or “Thanks for your help” text. (I try to make it somewhat spicier than OK – on a scale where “OK” is a bell pepper and “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” is the Trinidad Moraga scorpion. And in case you’re wondering, that’s the hottest pepper in the world, as it was named this February. How hot? On the Scoville chart, which measures substances by spicy-ness, it scored two hoot-hollerin’ million. In contrast, law enforcement pepper spray ranks at 1.5 mil., and the bell pepper is at zero. It’s a pepper that is so pants-blazing hot, it’d likely scorch the taste buds right off of my tongue.)
Not sending that final message, the one that cements and/or ends whatever conversation was being had, would be plain rude. Like virtually every TV show’s phone calls, where one party hangs up before we, as the audience, feel that moment of closure. “They weren’t done yet,” we tell ourselves, almost angry. “Did anyone say ‘Goodbye’?” And then we’re left dangling, wondering if we’re to suddenly hang up on our calls as well. Is it a tactic that saves on minutes? Not just phone minutes, but minutes from our lives. How many seconds could have been better spent than by uttering, “Well I’ve got laundry to do” before punching a button? Perhaps these TV show writers have been teaching us a valid life lesson all along.
To these genius writers, and to whoever invented standardized texts (the pre-typed ones on your phone that you’ve never used), I’d like to propose a toast. Here’s to never having to send that confirmation text again … and not feeling guilty about it! May we, as a community of united phone users create our own act of what is socially acceptable – where logic trumps all.
Perhaps, if we’d been following these tactics all along, texting when texting makes sense, not because we’re obligated, the world would have evolved much differently. Maybe every saying ever wouldn’t have been shortened into an unrecognizable acronym. “JQTIR;MZR” wouldn’t be a conversation, it’d be what happens when you fall asleep on your keyboard. Texting championships wouldn’t be a thing either – what is now a truly embarrassing show of United Statesian gadgetry. Shoppers would watch where they were going, teens wouldn’t talk in abbreviations. And finally, I’d like to think that, without the popularization of phone typing, I’d never have to hear, “Did you get my text?” again.