Saturday, December 6, 2008

Whathe %$#&^ r they saying

By Darren Handschuh
Watching my oldest son talk to his cousin via online messenger made me realize just how old and out of touch I am.
I am not exactly a computer dinosaur, but I am also far from a computer genius.
I can usually get a computer to do what I need it to do with little hassle (sometimes I feeling like smashing the beast with a five-pound axe, but I always manage to suppress the urge. So far anyway)
But what amazes me the most is watching a whole new language emerge from the tapping of keys and the click of a mouse.
There are the standard words such as megabytes and RAM and all the other technical ramblings that have besieged the Earth over the last few years, but I am talking about a completely new form of communication that, to me, looks like some sort of secret military code.
He let me read a message he sent and most of it I could figure out, but some of it needed explaining.
When he had to sign off, he typed g2g.
To an old, balding guy like myself that is a couple of letters and a number. At least that’s all they were when I was a teen.
But to my son, and the zillions of little computer whiz kids out there, it means ‘got to go.’ Get it, g2g. Very clever.
I was able to figure out p2p on my own, which is person to person. I was quite pleased with that until I came across the term noobs.
I know of a similar word that starts with a ‘b’ but it is not even close to what this word means. It seems the term noobs stands for newbie, or someone who is new to the Internet.
That makes sense, sort of.
There are some obvious ones. The letter R can be used for are and our, and CU stands for see you, but there are some that I would likely have never figured out and would eventually have to feign a heart attack just to get out of the conversation.
Apparently, AFAIK means ‘as far as I know.’ It is just the first letters of each word, but to a youth-challenged, middle-aged gentlemen such as myself it means WTHAYTA, which is ‘what the hell are you talking about?’
KTHXBYE means OK, thanks, good bye.
I can sort of see how a collection of normal English words mutated into a jumble of seemingly random letters in that one, but there are many more out there that do little more than baffle my brain and give me a headache.
To make things even more complicated, some terms have double meanings. Oh good, now I can be confused twice as much.
POS is such a double phrase. One phrase is ‘parents over shoulder,’ an obvious coded warning that the sender is under observation so be cool. The other use of POS is not fit for print in this fine publication.
I am still using TTFN (ta ta for now) when I sign off. It would seem that term is so outdated it is akin to sealing a letter with a dab of wax and pressing the family seal into it.
There are however some carryovers from the older generation who, after having to say and write full words for generations, became tired of such lengthy communication and birthed the appreviation form of communication the youth of today have claimed as their very own.
Most people know what BYOB means. At least anyone who went to college does because how many college parties are there where BYOB is not manditory?
We older folk came up with a couple more terms, but the youth of today have created their own language that takes the age gap to new and dizzying levels.

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