Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Double Asterisk

It's no secret that I think the Boys are brilliant, or at least as brilliant as one could think any four humans are  when one has seen those humans through the succession of haircuts they have had. (If it can grow out or be washed off it's not worth fighting over. That was my mother's motto, and I have appropriated it as my own.)

In the past few weeks, though, I've received confirmation that at least one of my offspring is brilliant.

Three of the four Boys communicate with me mostly through instant message. Because I'm at my computer much of every day, they know they can let me know they're still alive, as well as get my super-secret chili recipe, simply by logging on to Google Talk. They also know, though, that because my time at my computer is spent editing, I DO NOT LIKE instant message shorthand.

I've made my preferences clear to my sons: Do not key in "how u doin" and expect an answer from me. No, sir. Spell out words, with proper capitalization and punctuation. And if you decide to use a word such as "'sup," you'd better know that the Urban Dictionary defines this as A term that cool people use because they are too d--- lazy to say What's up. (Too much effort involved there man.), and use it ironically.

Anyway, the older Boys let me know that if one makes a spelling mistake in a text or instant message, etiquette says the next line should be *correctspelling. I could be a perfectly proper IM-er thusly:

Hey, were you coming hom for Easter?

Easy, huh? But now Boy#2 has come up with an even better solution. If the misspelled word is one that's obvious, he simply types in two asterisks. 
Hey, were you coming hom for Easter?

This means, he says, that you know you made a mistake, you regret the mistake, and you are moving on. Brilliant, no?

It set me to thinking of all the times when I wish other life situations had similarly simple "moving on now" signals. I could serve the over-salted potatoes, announce "Star star," and no one could mention that I'm really not a very good cook. Or I could accidentally cut a driver off on the bypass, lean out the window and yell "star-star," and the other driver would know I wasn't really a jerk-faced idiot. (Although given the way cut-off drivers usually react, maybe the apology needs to be a hand signal, since that seems to be the lingua franca of the road.)

Texting may be killing the English language, but the least we can do is be polite while we watch its demise.