Talk Is Cheap, But Necessary

This story bothers the shit out of me.

If you don’t want to click over, basically the story is about a growing number of parents who rely almost exclusively on text messaging, e-mails and instant messages to communicate “secretly” so little ears don’t pick up on it. From the woman in the passenger seat of a car texting her husband in the driver’s seat so she doesn’t wake up a sleeping child, to the couples who schedule sex through texts and e-mails, these parents claim this kind of electronic communication is a “complete parental survival tool.”

This, of course, is complete bullshit.

I know, it might surprise some of you that I feel that way because I loves me some technology. I have a Blackberry I check constantly. I’m permanently attached to my laptop while I’m at home. I’m forever on Twitter, Facebook and tending to the blog, and I’d consider selling Will to the highest bidder in order to purchase the new Droid Incredible.

But relying almost exclusively on non-verbal communication is detrimental to a relationship. Think about it.

First of all, the very thought of texting my wife while I’m in the same house is stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about a flirtatious text that leads to something romantic later. That’s great and should be encouraged. I’m talking about the ridiculousness of texting MJ while we’re under the same roof if we have anything of consequence or importance to say to each other. Let’s face it, you can’t always project sarcasm or tone in a text. People invariably read e-mails and texts with suspicion, which often leads to misunderstandings.

Second, did you read the remarks from the pretentious asshat of a parent in the story who ramps up his vocabulary to confuse his kids? If he’s thinking about going out for ice cream, he’ll say to his wife “Should we give the elder a frozen confection?”  Obviously this yuppie prick is completely full of himself, because if I use that language in front of Will I want to help him understand what all the words mean. I don’t want to be a secretive douchebag who feels smug about outsmarting a little kid. To this jerkoff I say “I fully intend to showcase my pugilistic abilities on your visage.”

And finally we get to the paragon of motherhood who admits that when she has something important to talk to her husband about, she bribes her kids with a $1 bill to leave the room. Something they may regret in the future when their little darling is dangling off a stripper pole feverishly collecting $1 bills and the attention she never got as a child.

I know some of this is exaggeration, but I really do think the lack of face-to-face communication between spouses can have serious negative impacts. Can you imagine sending a text to your wife from another part of the house that says “Depressed lately, thinking about quitting job” or even worse, “I don’t think u & i r working. TTFN.”

Parents never have enough time, and no doubt we rely on texts that say “Can you pick up a gallon of milk?” and “Running 15 minutes late.” That’s fine. But talking about complex issues that directly affect a marriage via e-mail or instant message? That’s messed up. Not to mention it sets what I believe is an awful example for our kids, as the spoken word and face-to-face conversation are quickly being phased out of our lives by ever-expanding technology.

By the way, I’m on the couch and I figured I’d try this out on MJ, who’s in the bedroom 15 feet away from me. I texted “How bout a little sumpin sumpin?” She said, and I quote, “If you wanna talk to me get your sorry ass in here and talk to me. Why the hell are you texting me you lunatic?”

See? If MJ had texted me that I would’ve never been able to enjoy the scorn and derision in her voice. I guess we’re old fashioned.

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8 thoughts on “Talk Is Cheap, But Necessary

  1. GREAT post! I think this is valuable advice for all aspects of life, not just parenting.

  2. Is it really any surprise that all this social media would lead people to lose the ability to communicate. Sure it has its great points. I have gotten a lot out of making friends on line. But at some point we all need to remember to have real face to face relationships and conversations. I agree with you that texting rather than talking in the same house is a dangerous road to go down.

  3. Please remember this post and make sure you let us know the first time you spell something in front of Will to prevent him from understanding! :-)

  4. I’m afraid my children’s generation IS losing the ability to communicate face to face. They even avoid the phone. As for parents texting each other sitting next to each other, that goes way over the line. If I texted my husband while in the same house, he would probably respond in the same manner as MJ. But I like the idea of flirting via text . . .

  5. per usual, i agree with you.

    this post reminded me of a funny incident that i must relay.

    there’s a guy i know who has a distant familial relationship to me. he’s well known for possessing what is perhaps the worst combover ever. like literally, anyone who ever brings up his name follows it up with a remark about the Cinnabon that’s on top of his head. astonishing.

    anyway, one of my good buddies has never seen this guy. a few months ago, he was at a UT game w/ another of my friends who has seen him. wouldn’t you know it, they were sitting right behind him, where they could examine the combover from a particular compelling viewpoint.

    so much to say about what should get a nomination for 8th wonder of the world, yet speaking about it might draw attention.

    so, sitting right next to each other they swapped texted about it. until midway through the second half.

  6. I don’t even like spelling out stuff in front of our kid. It creates a disincentive for him to learn how to spell. If necessary, we just mouth words to each other so he can’t hear us.

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