Wednesday, 23 June 2010


I suppose the idea of sending instant, brief messages started with the Morse telegraph, which was patented in 1837. The first such message, sent in 1838, read: "A patient waiter is no loser". I think that for such a historic message, a little more work was required.

Some people, my dear wife among them, seem not to have grasped the concept of texting. While driving, I become aware that she has been tapping on her phone for what seems like an age. On enquiry I discover that this is a text to darling daughter which has just reached chapter 3. If I suggest that an actual phone call might have been a better option, I'm told that she didn't want to disturb her by ringing her. (Sigh).

Number one son is the opposite. A typical text from him reads "C U l8ter". In my opinion, this takes things too far.

The "Drive time" radio programme has an interesting slant on brevity by asking listeners to sum up their day in just three words. It's fascinating how much can be said in just words. "Had scan - GIRL!", "Just got fired", "Daughter got engaged" are just a few examples.

Brief can be beautiful too and has been made an art form by those clever Japanese in the form of Haiku. My favourite example goes like this:

"A trout leaps,
Clouds are moving
In the bed of the stream" (Onitsura).

I love the way Nature is reversed with the trout leaping above the clouds.

So in general, I would make a plea for a degree of minimalism - except of course, when pouring me a glass of wine.


  1. I put a small photo on my sidebar this am about texting and driving. Pretty much says it all LOL

  2. One of my frustrations as a non-English native speaker is not being able to text like your son.