You know what’s popular these days? Blogs. Someone even suggested that I start one on my website. But I’m not going to do that for two reasons:

  1. I don’t have the time, and
  2. I don’t know what that is.

I will be the first to admit…when it comes to technology, I refuse to learn too much. Putting too much faith in machinery will only lead to bigger frustration when things break down. For example, I write my jokes with something our parents used to call “a pen”. You know what happens when that pen leaks, or runs out of ink? I grab another “pen” that costs about 1/18 of a cent. There’s no need to call Bangladesh, wait on hold for two hours, and talk to a guy who just graduated “broken English class” in order to make it work again. (Side note: Suck it, AOL!)

You may think I sound like a grumpy old man, but I’m not really. I am getting older, though. In January, I celebrated another birthday. To me, that’s no big deal. Age is simply a number and should have no effect on how you feel as person… unless of course you’re 45, in which case… DAMN THAT’S OLD! You would know that I was kidding if I had any idea how to convey emotion using various keypad symbols. For example, 🙂 means happy. I don’t understand this lingo, but most people do because most people are way too busy to actually type the words “I’m happy”. And because of them, millions of Americans now believe that it is impossible for a person to actually smile upright. I don’t know what the symbol would be for “I’m kidding”, but my guess would be something involving @ and * because everyone knows those are the symbols at the heart of sarcasm. :@*

I don’t even know how this website thing works, to be quite honest with you. I just type my little humor columns and “email” them to my webmaster, and voila…it can be read by anyone with too much time on their hands (i.e. Canadians). By the way, the term “webmaster” is a little pompous. I don’t think anyone should have the word “master” in their title. Nobody else does that, except Maria at the Ramada Inn in Memphis who insisted I call her “Dustmaster”. She was a damn good duster, though.

It’s difficult to admit that I’m old fashioned, because those words come with a negative connotation. People automatically think it’s bad, like when they hear the words “asbestos” or “art gallery”. I realized my antiquated attitude last week when I worked what many comics call a “like whatever tour”. It’s called that because every night I performed at a college. On college campuses these days, the words “like” and “whatever” are more abundant than vowels, and the ones I worked proved no different. A continuous cacophony of gaggle speak, if you will. (I should note that I call a group of sorority girls a “gaggle”, which honestly isn’t fair to geese).

Here’s where things begin to confuse me. Apparently, the youth of today are regressing in their communication skills while the world around them is simultaneously progressing. It makes no sense. These are students in the hallowed halls of higher education, and most of them apparently don’t understand what the hell they’re saying.

Below are just two examples of statements I overheard on last week’s tour:

  1. “This is like the warmest day ever!
    Ever? It’s 47 degrees. Is this your first trip away from Neptune?
  2. “I could not, like, find a parking space anywhere or whatever. I literally drove around forever!”
    Literally forever? You have no doubt stumbled upon another facet of eternity that ancient philosophers missed. They certainly contemplated Heaven and Hell, but they never even considered the everlasting, limitless domain of the Best Buy parking lot. Good going!

My replies were only in my head. I dared not say anything to them, because I needed to hear “Whatever” about as much as I needed to hear another ad for Geico. On that particular day, I was too early to check into the hotel, so I escaped to another place that was guaranteed to be gagglefree-the library.

Upon entering, I awoke the lonely grad student working the front desk. Not a soul in the joint. “This is eerie,” I said. “Doesn’t anybody write research papers anymore?” I then learned that students indeed researched for assignments, but they either did so on their dorm computers or they were exempt thanks to their NFL potential.

Again with the computers! Yes, people…you can research an entire paper on a computer! I remember not too long ago when we had to check out “books” and strain our eyes looking at “microfiche”. Sometimes we even had to look something up in the “card catalog”, something that’s in the Smithsonian’s relic collection along with a bomb shelter and Emmanuel Lewis. And if the book we needed was already checked out, or the important pages were ripped, well tough shit. When Google pops up with a page that says “Sorry, that website is missing”, only then will students today know what stress really is. Until then, they should have plenty of time to build their vocabularies. To most of them, I’m sure that’s “too like ugh, or whatever”.

As I re-read this column, I can see how I may come across as a cynic who’s ready to snap. I assure you, I’m at peace with it all. It just makes me chuckle to witness a debauchery of social interaction accompany a surge in technological advancement. There’s movement in two opposite directions, and I am in the middle of it all, not quite grasping how in the world either side operates. As I marvel at the irony, I can only think of one thing to say – :@*

Categories: Columns