Twilight Rants - 2013

Once Upon A Time, My Dad Learned How to Text

See this adorable fellow? That’s my dad (and me on the left). I’d like to share a story about my dad, not to embarrass him or make him into a spectacle, but to make a point about the disparities that exist between our two generations in regards to modes of communication.

See, my dad and technology work together in a very particular way.

But my friends and I interact with technology in an entirely different way. Technology makes up an enormous part of our lives. Our smart phones are just as much a part of us as our own body parts.

My dad and his generation grew up in a very different way than what we know today. In the span of just a few decades, he had to completely alter the way he saw and defined a telephone.

This is what my dad sees when he thinks of a phone:

While writing this blog, I thought back to the time when my dad decided it was time for him to learn how to text. It was a father’s desperate attempt to maintain communication with his kids, realizing that it was becoming more and more difficult to reach us for a full conversation over the phone. Day in and day out, he watched my brother and I send texts back and forth to our friends, amazed at how quickly our fingers moved across the tiny keyboards, eager to join in this fascinating form of communication. Needless to say, I doubted that my dad would ever get the hang of texting. He couldn’t even manage to remember how to enter a four-digit password into his phone to check his voicemail. Despite our doubts, my brother and I both patiently tried to show our dad how to maneuver his awkward, calloused fingers around his old Samsung flip phone to create messages.

After a weekend of lessons, I went back to school, and not long after, received my first text from my dad. Almost immediately after my phone alerted me that I had a text, my dad called me and asked if his text had gone through and proceeded to tell me exactly what it said. This turned out to be very helpful because the text was fragmented, brief, and full of words my dad had attempted to shorten, not for the sake of using “cool” acronyms but in an attempt to spend less time looking for the correct keys. The text was signed:

“Love yak”

When I first asked him why he used “k” instead of “u” or “you” he simply responded by saying that it was going to be “our new thing.”

To this day, my dad signs all of his text messages, “luv ya k” without fail, and I am still unclear as to the origin of the “k.” The best part about my dad learning to text is that more and more I can feel his humor coming through in his messages, just as I can with my other friends that I text on a regular basis. His messages are still fragmented, but he is learning to insert his personality into his texts. Who would have thought that 7 letters could carry so much meaning? Even this Lit. major had her doubts, but my technologically challenged dad proved that even a simple text can convey a lot of meaning.

It seems strange that I should be proud of my dad for using technology to convey emotions, especially in an age where face-to-face contact is becoming scarcer and less necessary for human relationships, but then again that is the world we live in.

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One thought on “Once Upon A Time, My Dad Learned How to Text

  1. Well, someone still has to tell me how to retrieve my messages – almost every time. I’m always forgetting to click on something or poke the wrong something. I usually see who called or texted and call them back. “Hi! How are ya?” They say, “Did you get my message?” I say, “Oh, no; fill me in.” Your dad’s mind obviously adapts better than mine. Good blog

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