There are probably dozens of bells and whistles on my smart phone that I haven’t discovered yet. A friend told me the other day that you can have your phone announce who is calling you. Here’s another cool trick he taught me: if you are unhappy with what you’ve typed in a text, instead of erasing all of it, just shake the phone and it all disappears. Next thing you know, you’ll be able to take a photograph with your phone. How cool would that be?
Until recently I didn’t realize that instead of using my chubby sausage fingers to text a message, I can press this tiny microphone symbol on my phone and then simply talk into the device. Magically the words are transcribed. Was I that stupid? No, I’m 71.
Needless to say, the discovery of this simple feature has changed my life. No longer do I send messages that say things like: “I gat your email anf hipe to see yiu im the veri near futurg.”
“Wait, don’t you have spellcheck?“ you might ask. I don’t use spellcheck. I don’t trust it. When I type PRINCIPAL instead of PRINCIPLE it doesn’t get corrected, and it makes me seem ignorant when I text a friend saying “I stand up for my principals.” It looks like I’m complimenting local school officials. But spellcheck has a hissy fit if I type Febuary instead of February. Come on, who doesn’t make that mistake? Get off my back.
Here is what happened the other day: I was in my basement office texting my friend Bob and said into the phone: “Can we meet at Starbucks tomorrow?” As the text was being transcribed, my wife heard me from upstairs and thought I was talking to her.
“Dick, why are we meeting at Starbucks tomorrow?”
I yelled upstairs, “I wasn’t talking to you! You and I are not going to Starbucks tomorrow.”
My message read: “Can we meet at Starbucks tomorrow? I wasn’t talking to you. You and I are not going to Starbucks tomorrow.” Then I accidentally sent the text. And I got this back from Bob:
“Dick, are we meeting at Starbucks or not? Why are you so indecisive? By the way, if you aren’t talking to me, why are we even meeting?”
I texted back and told Bob that I was actually talking to my wife at the time. This made no sense because the text said that I was not talking to her. So Bob thinks Mary Ellen and I aren’t on speaking terms. And now you see how rumors get started.
I am continually getting better at this form of texting. This morning, Mary Ellen heard me saying this:
Hello COMMA Bob COMMA hey it’s me EXCLAMATION POINT If you have the time COMMA I’d like to get together Monday DOT DOT DOT Will that work for you QUESTION MARK
“That is so strange,” said Mary Ellen, who was listening from the top of the stairs. “I know you are a grammar nut, but I just heard you talking and punctuating your own speech.”
I hollered back to her, “I do not want to talk about this ever again. PERIOD.”
Dick Wolfsie appears weekdays on television sharing his humor, stories and video essays. His column appears weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at