Blog: The Dangers Of Texting

(originally written 3/14/12)

The text message, independently, is a wonderful convenience tool. Say what you will about the impersonality of typing to someone rather than calling them, but without the "text", it'd be a lot harder to kill time waiting at the DMV, or to spread/receive important news. The Office doofus Creed Bratton's total oblivion to texting is greeted with more perplexed scrutiny than Quagmire's total oblivion to Internet porn—it's that essential and valuable to our everyday lives.


Still, as with alcohol, the text message can be—and routinely is—abused. Improper use of this technology has proven dangerous to mankind in a variety of ways. 


Over time, texting behind the wheel became such a danger that several states illegalized it following thousands of tragic deaths at the hands of distracted drivers—although the threat of fines and (in some states) moving violations has hardly ended the practice. Studies have conclusively shown the reaction time of a driver distracted by texting is worse than that of a legally-drunk driver—in some cases twice as bad--but some people simply cannot help themselves.


Like e-mailing, texting while angry has proven to be (socially) dangerous. When engaged in a verbal fight, hurtful words are expected and tend to generally blend together with the passing of time. On the other hand, a texting war can carry more impact, simply because a permanent record of the assault is accessible with the press of a key. Being called a name during an argument is never fun, but it's done in a snap, whereas seeing the slur staring back at you on your cellphone can often cut deeper.


You've forgiven the "assailant", moved past it, then one day when perusing your inbox—there's the unfriendly reminder of unpleasantness that, had it been spoken rather than sent, you'd have long ago forgotten. Before you know it, your anger is restored. (Plenty of past personal experience with this particular danger, but I'm not here to talk about the past.)


On Tuesday, I discovered a new danger related to texting—doing so while tired.


It is difficult to keep in touch with all of your friends/family when they (gratefully) number in the dozens and are spread out all over the Bay Area--and beyond, in some cases. Still, I try to contact all of them at a minimum of monthly, be it by call, e-mail, Facebook, mild stalking—or text, of course. So Tuesday I reached out to a few pals, the last of which was Jason. I conked out for the night unaware that exchange had thrust him into my subconscious...


In this dream, the weirdness didn't wait—I walk to my bathroom, then open the door. Behind it is Jason sitting on the edge of my bathtub, obscured by a newspaper but clearly taking a dump. Sitting on the closed toilet is DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, in full uniform and headband, sketching him. For some reason, I'm the embarrassed one, and I jet as quickly as I enter.


No sooner than I close the door than a note appears under it, with the words "GET OUT" spelled with clipped magazine letters ransom-note style.


While trying to process A) how either of them prepared a note so fast, B) what either of them had to gain by not simply writing the note, and C) why on Earth any of that was happening, I begin packing my bags for parts unknown.


As I channel my inner Mr. Mackey, let my experience serve as a lesson to you—texting while tired is bad. So don't text while tired.
Lest you wind up evicted from your own home in your sleep by a good friend and/or a marginal NBA star.
Mmm-kay?