I’m all Thumbs

thumbs and phone“Likewise, there is no evidence that texting teaches people to spell badly: rather, research shows that those kids who text frequently are more likely to be the most literate and the best spellers, because you have to know how to manipulate the language” –David Crystal

“There’s no evidence that texting teaches people to spell badly.  It’s gigantic thumbs.” –Jeff Brown

Here’s a text message exchange between my wife and me last evening.  She was in the bedroom and I was lying on the living room couch.

Vickie:  You can watch TV in here.  My show didn’t leave off where it should have.  Now I have to watch it all over again.

Jeff:  Ok.  Way hi g scrubs

You may notice that my wife’s message is clear and coherent while mine isn’t.  This drives me crazy. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m thrilled that my wife is wonderful and bright and can string words together in complete sentences.  What distresses me is the condition of my response.  It’s indecipherable– and I’m the one in the family that likes to think of himself as a writer.

Don’t get me wrong– not a writer in the sense that I’m widely published, paid, or successful in any sort of meaningful way.  Oh no, I mean a writer in the sense that I can usually spell my first name confidently without having to refer to my nametag.  (Hi, my name is JEFF.  If found please call…)

In other words, I value a well-written, properly spelled and punctuated piece of prose.

Perhaps it stems from all those composition classes I endured in college, but whenever I write something, I want it to be AWESOME.  It doesn’t matter if I’m writing a simple e-mail or texting my wife reminding her to buy me the super-sized bottle of Beano.  (Yes NSA officials, I’m sometimes gassy.) 

I always feel like I owe the reader a solid 500-600 words.  You know, complete with an opening hook that grabs attention, an entertaining middle, and a satisfying ending that nobody saw coming, except maybe for the stereotypical nerds in horror movies.  (They’re often very perceptive, insisting that there’s a noise outside).

The heart of my punctuational problems: my shiny new iPhone 4. 

Interesting Fact:  I like to keep up with two-year-old technology.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my smart phone, and for a guy like me who mows lots of yards this time of year, it’s invaluable.  Why, I can literally be out in the field, check the radar on my phone, and verify that, yes indeed, it’s raining.

My real beef is with the touch screen.  The keys are way too small for my thumbs and I’m constantly making mistakes.  This is why I rarely post to Facebook with my phone.  (I’m so embarrassed!  I used a comma when I meant to use a semicolon!)

My wife apparently has no problem typing on her phone because she rarely makes mistakes.  When I complain she’s quick to point this out.  “Perhaps,” she says, “the problem isn’t with the phone.  Maybe it’s you.”


“I mean your thumbs.  They are abnormally gigantic.” 

Of course this makes me feel bad, but you know what they say about guys with big thumbs. 

Vickie says the iPhone 5 has a bigger touch screen and I should buy one.  But, as I mentioned earlier, this probably won’t happen until the iPhone 6 comes out.    

Yeah, us guys with big thumbs are cheap