I thought I might have created a new word yesterday. Textlexia. Twice in one day I had misinterpreted entries aimed at humor, into hurtful, disappointing revelations about his character and our future together. Did I mention I also had PMS?
I woke up this morning wondering if, in fact, textlexia was already a word so I did what everyone does when they need to find out if something exists. I googled it. I found several entries for the word in a site called the "Urban Dictionary" - who knew there was such a thing? If I'm just now brave enough to be texting, I'm certainly not supposed to be aware of things like an urban dictionary containing an entirely different language than that taught by Mrs. Humpfreys in the 7th grade.
Afterall, I have to rely on my 23 year old son to tell me how to speak and write text or to translate text speak into the Queen's English. He even had to tell me how to talk about texting when he caught me referring to the act of sending or receiving a text as text mailing. "Mom", he says with a slight hint of smarmy exasperation, "it's text messaging".
In my very early, rudimentary texting days, a friend once told me to make sure to type little emoticons to ensure the meaning of my texts. A wink ;-) for example, would indicate you were joking. Since I didn't have the benefit of a wink yesterday, I was left to determine the meaning using the time honored female tradition of deductive reasoning. ;-) ;-) Yeah right. This amounts to immediately jumping to the worst possible conclusion and dismissing any other possibilities. All while managing to create a parallel universe where whatever he said must somehow be your fault.
I did find a meaning for Textlexia in the urban dictionary; however, it wasn't related to misinterpreting the meaning of a text. Officially, textlexia is 1.) the accidental use of text language when writing manually, like in composing a business letter or resume or 2.) the inability to spell words when using those frustrating predictive text modes. I tried to find a word to fit my situation but there are approximately 587 words in the urban dictionary using a derivative of the word text. Seriously?
Some of my favorites were Text Massage or getting a text when your phone is on vibrate; Textcrastinate which is to delay your text response or Textually Frustrated which is what happens when you're communicating with a textcrastinator and they are not meeting your textpectations. Since text rhymes with sex - there are tons of sexually suggestive text-slang words but my favorite is the classically simple Textual Intercourse, which when performed means you have consummated your relationship (and you need a cigarette). Can't you just hear it now, "I did not have textual relations with that woman."
After exhausting my research on all forms of the word text, I went on to look up hundreds of other words. With each new word I felt more trendy, increasingly hip and smart, like my 28 year old assistant. It felt like I was an unpopular kid who was finally allowed to hang with the cool kids. Like I was allowed to join a secret club where you have to know what cankles are or that the use of finger guns is strictly limited to creepy people with porn mustaches.
In the end, it looks like it's going to be up to me to coin the phrase to describe the affliction I experienced yesterday. I've decided I had a bad case of Textmorphic Disorder (TMD). Morph from the Greek Morphos meaning form, shape or structure and Disorder from the way I have lived most of my life. It will be defined as the inability to extrapolate tone, inflection or meaning from a text based communication.
There are a few basic guidelines I've come up with to help others who may find themselves impaired with TMD.
1. Do not jump to conclusions.
2. Do not use deductive reasoning.
3. It is best to textcrastinate to a perceived hurtful text - or better yet, do not respond at all.
4. If you have PMS, use the phone!
5. If you did fire back a 'WTF?' or 'SOB!', quickly follow it up with, "sorry, fingers slipped, having issues w/ texterity today.
I wonder if it wouldn't be a lot easier if we could simply all agree to ban the use of sarcasm in text mode. Or, at the very least, it should be mandatory to give a little text wink at the end of a potentially hazaardous message. Or maybe I should just not take things so seriously. Did I mention I have PMS?