Thumbs of Fury and 1st World Problems…

This article originally appeared as our syndicated newspaper column “Plugged-In”

So our 17 year old son Jon and I get in a discussion about texting on the way to school morning. He thinks it’s hilarious that his step-mom and I use “text language” when texting while he and his friends use complete words.

No sure what “text language” is? Here are some examples:

abt = about

k = OK

gtg = got to go

2 = to

u = you

yr = your

n = and

I’m about to stop and pick up your dry cleaning, OK? Then I’ve really got to go…

Turns into:

abt 2 p/u yr dry cleaning, k? then gtg

I told him the difference is we adults actually have to look at the keyboard to text, while he and his friends can type an entire text message, heck, an entire text conversation, without ever looking down at the keyboard. After all, we don’t call him “thumbs of fury” just for fun.

Recently I confiscated all cell phones at dinner at a restaurant. Jon had a few friends with us as guests and I looked up to see them actually texting each other at the same table. I took their phones and told them they had to do this radical thing called actually talking with each other.

Another interesting trend is #firstworldproblems on Twitter. Just for point of reference and perspective, 3rd world problems are things like starvation, no safe water, no medical care, etc. First world problems are things like “My parents never listen to me. They got me a black iPad instead of a white one.”

Here are some more actual examples from @F1stWrldProblems on Twitter:

I want something from the vending machine but I only have twenties. #FirstWorldProblems

Low cost airlines don’t fly where I want. #FirstWorldProblems

I have an essay due tomorrow and Wikipedia is still blacked out. #FirstWorldProblems

The shower is too cold after 45 minutes. #FirstWorldProblems

You get the idea…

So the take aways from this column this week are:

1) Talk and be with the people you are with…and,

2) Be grateful for what you have and what you get to complain about.

After all, it was Stephen Glynn who said: “In terms of the world’s population, you have abundance if when you get up in the morning, you have a choice of what to wear, a choice of what to eat, a place to go and a way to get there.”

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Jeff Herring

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2 Comments

  • I’m glad Jonathon realizes he’s lucky and grateful to just have 1st world problems…

  • My version of this story is on Christmas Eve 2010, 2 of our 3 boys (now all 21+) had laptops with them, the other his smart phone. At one point all 5 of us were on a computer after lunch each doing our own thing. I’ll admit to doing it because I was bored, they were all occupied. How nuts is that? I said never again. So in 2011 we had them over a few days before so I reminded them that what I wanted for Christrmas was to unplug for most of the day, how precious our time is together (especially because one is a Marine and who knows where he will be at future holidays). Very thankful they agreed, at least enough to humor me 🙂 Played Monoploy instead-a long time family fave as they grew up.

    All the digital tools we have now never cease to amaze me and it would be hard not to use them, but people and real conversation/hugs/face to face smiles must always come first. Hopefully, some day, we will won’t need so many reminders.

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