Some of you know I write about tech. Some think I write about violinists -- or film, or travel, only. And still, some others thankfully think I just write jokes. And scripts, essays, and stories. Anyway, I cover all of these topics, and participate in all of these writing forms, each for a different reason. The reason I cover tech, though, is unique: It confuses me. I'm not a techie by design. I never wanted a cellphone. I never wanted to be as reachable as I am. To be as electronically fragmented. I never wanted to suffer from the attention-span-shortening that is almost certainly due to feeling compelled to check my e-mail all day long. So when I write about tech, I'm doing it to find solutions to these problems. Ways to make life easier now that we have literally no choice but to be so reachable, so connected, so digitized. New products that actually work in human ways. My tech thought for today, therefore, is: Why, in God's name, can your wireless phone carrier charge you for receiving a text message when you have no way to screen that text the way you would screen a call? And why do you still have to pay for it even if you choose to ignore it?
For instance, yesterday I got a text message from my good friend Foot Locker (FL). You see, Foot Locker had something really important to tell me right away -- so important it had to be sent in text form while Foot Locker was, presumably, in a meeting with our mutual dog The Athlete's Foot. The message text?
"Foot Locker & S'lifter, the hottest kicks & str8 2 ur phone Goto http"//slifter.com on ur phone's browser -- Reply OUT 2 opt out."
Now, who can blame Foot Locker for having to tell me this right away? Clearly it was worth imposing on me the $.25 I pay everytime someone texts me. What you don't know, however, is the beef Foot Locker and I have been in for the past year. You see, FL got all up in my face one day. Said some crazy-wrong stuff to me 'bout how I'm frontin' and hatin' and whatnot. So I decided to freeze FL out. I tapped those digits that keep tele-thugs from knowin' your cell, and figured FL would get the mizzessage. Yo, I was wrong tho, cuz, check it, apparently those digits didn't keep FL from knowin' anything. And when he texted yesterday, y'all, I had no option but to pay for all his funked-up SMS shee-oht -- whether or not I chose to read or snub it -- according to Verizon (V-dog) Wireless. We can't be responsible for who texts you, V-dog said. But I said, yo, that ain't fair. I never gave my number to FL, and couldn't even peep that it was him who was textin'. And by the way, you sayin' that even if I could, I'd still have to pay? Oh yeah, V-dog said. That's what you signed on for when you went and got your bad self all up in that mobile wireless stuff like you did.
The moral of the story? We're all screwed if we can still get texts -- texts we must pay for -- from spammers even after we've taken all the steps we can to block them and hide. I just hope FL gets the message and doesn't sick his posse on me, yo. One text perpetrator, I can handle. Any more, and you're askin' for war.