Teaching obscenities to my cell phone’s predictive text function gives me a sick thrill, not unlike what I imagine I’d feel if I taught a toddler to swear or trained an elderly aunt’s parrot to call her a “cocksuck.” For example, today, Hilly told me via a text message that, contrary to earlier rumors, she and L-Cus would not be stopping in Santa Barbara tonight as part of some pre-flight-from-California surf trip. I responded, again via text, that I would immediately commence throwing away the cupcakes that I’d spent the day icing with images of their faces. I told her it was fine, you see, because my tears had already smudged the icing art into a brown smear — much like the state of my heart — and that I’d later be taking down streamers while choking down sobs. (Honestly, I can’t picture a funnier mental image than a person crying over the frosting re-creation of the friend who, ultimately, would not be arriving to share previous moments. Note, however, to Hilly and L-Cus: When will we share previous moments? When will our hearts beat together? Truly, when will I see you again?) I ended the mock despair with a simple denunciation of Hilly as a “bastard” when I realized that my phone didn’t know that word. Shocked, I tried to fathom the possibility that I’ve had my cell phone for more than two years and had somehow neglected to ever call someone a bastard in a text message. Mind-boggling, really. I’ve been presented with so many opportunities to do so.
For the record, my phone knows “fucking” but not “fuck.” (It suggests “dual.”) It knows “motherfucker” but not “asshole.” (It suggests the perplexing “assimle.”) It knows “shit,” but only because I taught it that one. (I remember the occasion exactly. Once, in DC, Moe texted me that she had gone to the wrong Potbelly’s and would not, as planned, meet me for lunch. The only response for that situation: “Eat shit.”) My phone knows “bitch,” “whore,” and “dick,” but not “cunt,” “homo” or “slut.” (It suggests “aunt,” “hmmm,” and “plut,” the last of which I don’t think is even a word.) Sure, that makes for fun games where I tell people “Dual your hmmm assimle, you frothing aunt,” but it makes me wonder why the people in charge of these cell phone systems wouldn’t count on the worst from their customers and pre-program such choice words in order to save valuable, angry seconds. The natural assumption would be that some Holy Roller with a Puritan complex would write a letter if he realized that his beloved cell phone was designed even considering the possibility that he might use salty language. (And for the Holy Rollers out there who might be reading this, rest assured that at least my model of cell phone comes complete with such likely-to-be-used words like “heathen,” “pervert,” and “sodomite.” Seriously, it has sodomite. I can’t imagine ever needing to text that word myself, so I’ll assume it’s the cell phone’s fault.) And, no, they wouldn’t necessarily have to check to see if such obscene language had been programmed in. Theoretically, a person could legitimately try to text a friend about her aunt that has rabies and accidentally get “my frothing cunt” rather than “my frothing aunt.” The results, while hysterical, would most assuredly result in a letter.
I wish the phone had some mode that would allow me to see all the words I’d programmed in, just because that would give more of an accurate depiction of my personal life than I’m used to seeing. It would also likely result in another blog post on this subject, however, so for now you’ll have to be happy with this.
Other posts on the importance of foul language: