Phone calls are so 1996. Today, texting is where it’s at. Why would you want to have close, personal, oral conversations with someone when you can get carpal tunnel syndrome typing rushed messages with misspellings, undecipherable acronyms, and unintended overtones that are open to misinterpretation? And how are you supposed to convey an emoji with your voice? TALK about your emotions? Pfffffttt. Who am I, Dr. Phil? Parents today didn’t grow up with texting, so they don’t understand how kids today communicate and thus often aren’t familiar with the conventions of this modern invention. This can prove frustrating to parents and embarrassing to the kids they’re trying to text, but for everyone else, it’s hysterical! Check out these hapless parents trying to venture into the digital realm (and failing spectacularly).
First tip for anyone who is new to texting: make sure you know what the acronyms are. “WTF” does not mean “Well, that’s fantastic,” “LMAO” isn’t “Let’s meet at one,” and “ICYMI” doesn’t stand for “I can’t yell much indoors.” This particular mother is confused about perhaps the most common Internet slang acronym, LOL, which she thinks means “lots of love.” When she tells her son David that his great aunt died, adding an LOL at the end of the text, he has to break it to her that LOL means “laughing out loud” — something that’s definitely not appropriate for a death in the family. Panicked, his mom says she has to rush and apologize to everyone, because she’s apparently been LOLing to the entire family since she heard the bad news.
14. I Need My Space
So, what exactly is this gibberish? Is this some secret spy message whose code you must break in order to find out the combination to the safe deposit box? (That’s probably holding the microfilm that details the blueprints for the terrorist facility housing the components to create a nuclear warhead.) No, sadly, it’s not that exciting. It’s just another newbie mother texting her son. In case you can’t decipher the message, it says, “Hi Greg, please ring. Not urgent; cannot find spacebar.” Although it doesn’t have anything to do with secret spy plans for nuclear annihilation, it’s almost as far-fetched to believe that someone can’t figure out how to insert spaces into their text message. I mean, if you can find the letters to type the text, the spacebar has to be right near there, right? Like, right underneath? Really, Mom, you’ve out-mommed yourself this time.
13. Going Through
If your parents are just getting into texting, you can be sure of one thing: you’re going to be their tech support. And if that’s the case, be prepared for some dumb questions, like, “Where do I put in the email address?” and “How do I Google the text?” Take this case, for example. A mom is texting her kid to say there’s something wrong with her phone; she doesn’t think her texts are going though. Of course, this immediately raises the question of “why you would text someone for help if you think your texts aren’t being transmitted,” but when her son or daughter confirms they received her text, she still doesn’t understand and asks them how they know her texts are going through. “Going through” is an appropriate phrase to use here, because you have to “go through” a lot when your parents get online.
12. Smiling Faces
Emojis are a big part of the texting experience, and it’s only a matter of time before your parents discover these little pics on their phone. And then the questions will come rolling in.
Here, a mother discovers she has “new faces” on her phone. Her kid tells her she’s always had them, but she insists she used to have only the smiley face. She then sends an emoji face with a surgical mask, for some reason. Finally, she discovers the Holy Grail of emoji: the smiley poop. She thinks it looks like poop (with good reason), but she assumes that can’t be what it really is. Thankfully, her kid lets her know its true identity before she goes around asking people if they want to go for some cool, refreshing soft-serve poo.
11. Delete That
Of all the parental texting blunders someone can experience, this is probably the most mortifying. No one wants to imagine their parents doing—or even thinking—anything of a sexual nature. For all we know, our moms got pregnant by inhaling plant spores or something, so the thought of a parent accidentally texting you something erotic meant for their spouse is too much for many of us to bear. In this instance, poor Nate is on the receiving end of a text from his mom that was intended for his dad. In it, she apologizes to her husband for some unspecified incident and then sends a photo of something that should make him feel better: KY personal lubricant. Realizing her error, she quickly texts Nate asking him to delete the message, but unfortunately, he can’t delete it from his mind.
10. A Novel Approach
We all know that parents can drone on and on with their tedious stories about some fifth cousin twice removed who you played with once during kindergarten and how they did something uneventful with some other person you don’t know. But you always humor them because, well, they’re your parents, and it seems to make them happy to bore you into a coma.
One place you’d expect to avoid such dull stories, however, it a text message. They should be, by nature, short and to the point — if for no other reason than it’s hard on your fingers to type a novel-length text. But that doesn’t stop this guy’s mother from sending this epic message, which is so long, it should be separated into chapters and have a table of contents. And it’s so numbingly dull, it’s impossible to fully understand. She begins talking about traffic driving by her house or something, then segues into her kids’ personalities when they were young, and just when you think it’s over, she adds a freakin’ P.S.
9. Profile Pics
One of the great things about modern technology is how it makes tasks—that used to take a lot of time and energy—easier and more efficient. Well, that is, if you use the technology correctly. Vehicle insurance claims, for example, have always been a royal pain in the butt, but now, apparently, you can take photos of the damage to your car and text them to your insurance agent for their perusal. This person’s mom, Susan, was fancy enough to figure this out, but when the insurance representative, Eva, asked her for photos of the front, side, and rear, but she didn’t quite get the concept. Susan ended up sending Eva pics of HERSELF, from the front, back (luckily, the head only), and side (both sides!). So, unless she had insurance on her face, this was pretty useless. Eva, to her credit, was very polite, saying, “Susan you look very nice, but I need pictures of your vehicle.”
8. Left Your Phone
So far, we’ve focused mainly on mom texting disasters, but dads can certainly screw up their attempts at messaging as well. (For the sake of everyone involved, let’s hope no one ever has to be on the accidental receiving end of their dad’s “Anthony Weiner” text.) Along the line of the “I don’t think my texts are going through” conversation from earlier, this father texts his kid to let them know they left their phone at home… Of course, the kid won’t see the text until they get back home to look at their phone, rendering this message pointless. This father would be better served sending his message by carrier pigeon or via telegram; at least there would be SOME possibility of it reaching its intended target in a timely manner.
Hashtags are a big part of the online world — granted, they’re more on the social networking sites than in text messaging, but since when have conventions stopped your parents from doing anything? Here, a guy’s mom texts him to let him know she’s “learning how to hashtag.” When he responds with the equivalent of a polite pat on the head, she shows off what she’s learned, ending the conversation with “Hashtag conversation with son.” It’s an adorably inept use of the hashtag, although it will become increasingly less adorable if she continues to use it. “Hashtag what do you want for dinner?” “Hashtag looks like it’s going to rain today; don’t forget your umbrella.” “Hashtag did I tell you I ran into that nice girl from church? She’s single and likes to crochet. I gave her your number. Hope that’s OK.”
Texting is supposed to be a more convenient form of communication, but there’s nothing convenient about having to decipher weird, cryptic messages from your clueless parents. It’s like you have to get past that initial moment of panic when you wonder if your mom or dad had a stroke while texting. Then you realize they just don’t know what the heck they’re doing. It took me a while to figure out this particular message, for instance. Someone’s dad texts them, saying, “I would like to begin sexting but do I need a password for the eboy?” At first, I thought, “Is eboy some sort of illicit sex site I don’t know about?” Then, I figured he must be trying to say “texting” instead of “sexting,” but that still didn’t explain the whole “eboy” thing. Finally, I put the sentence into my gobbledygook-to-English dictionary and came up with “I would like to begin selling, but do I need a password for eBay?” Thankfully, no one had to call To Catch a Predator on dad.
5. Butt Text
We’ve all accidentally butt dialed someone when our phone was in our pants pocket — some movement we made inadvertently pressed a button to call someone on speed dial. Butt texting is a little more difficult, because you have to not only accidentally write a text, but also accidentally press the “Send” button. Well, this person’s father got the first part down when he butt typed a full 25 LINES of nonsense letters and emojis. But (Get it? But?) when he noticed his goof, rather than delete the text, he went ahead and hit Send — “for you to see.” Gee, Dad, thanks for filling up my screen with gibberish! I’m not sure what he thought his kid’s reaction would be. Maybe impressed at the amount of friction generated between his pants and his phone? But the actual reaction likely involved significant eye rolling.
They say you can’t give yourself a nickname; someone else has to do that for you. If that’s true, the same goes with online acronyms; you can’t just make one up and think everyone’s going to jump onboard. Don’t expect your parents to realize this, though. Here’s a mom who thinks her kid made up the acronym BRB (“Be right back”), so for her response, she makes up one of her own: IAW. When asked what that means, she explains, “I am waiting.” Her kid mocks her invention, and Mom says, “Only you can make one? Who do you think you are?” This, of course, is just about the mommest thing anyone can say. That is, until she comes up with another acronym: WIKYTCYMENAT (“Would it kill you call your mother every now and then?”).
3. Okay We’re Done
For parents who can’t get the hang of pushing all of those tiny keys on their phone to type a text message, the “voice to text” function on Smartphones is a revelation. To kids who are on the receiving end of the garbled texts resulting from their parents’ rambling, however, this technology can be a nightmare. Take this weird text a woman named Katerina received from her mother, for instance. Initially, it seems to work fine; her mom just notifies her that she’s buying some food for dinner. But then, something goes wildly wrong. The voice-to-text function apparently continues to transcribe what Katerina’s mother is saying, recording her talking to Siri on her iPhone; calling it “lazy,” for some reason. Then, she realizes her voice is still being recorded, so she says, “Microphone still on” and tries to access her apps, but the phone somehow interprets this as “at boobs” (???), whatever that means. Understandably, she gives up in frustration.
2. Love, Mom
One big hurdle parents have to overcome when they first start texting is the understanding that texts aren’t emails. Or, for those who haven’t even managed to adopt email, they’re not snail mail letters delivered by the Pony Express. As such, you don’t have to use the traditional salutations (Dear so-and-so) and sign-offs (Love such-and-such) in texts, which are, by nature, short and informal. But this guy’s mom doesn’t quite get it. She insists on ending every text by signing “Mom” or even “Lucy,” as if he doesn’t know who’s messaging him. Oh, I’m glad it’s you, Mom; I was afraid some random stranger was asking me about the time I peed on Santa’s lap when I was five. Well, it could be worse; at least she doesn’t start every text with his mailing address.
After all of the examples in this list, in case you were STILL wondering if you should recommend your parents to the wonderful world of text messaging, consider this last entry as a direct warning to you and your sanity. Here, the mother of someone named Jackie has just begun texting, and if her first message is any indication of the type of communication Jackie will be receiving from her, she may rue this day for a long, long time. The message reads, “Hey Jackie, Jackie your mom can text now. Hi Jackie, what do I do, hi Jackie I haven’t changed, I don’t know what to do, goodbye then.” Maybe her mom is naturally hyper, or maybe she just downed a couple of shots of espresso, or maybe she’s literally a rabbit, but whatever she is, this over-eager text is too ridiculous to deal with.
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