Confessions of a semi-Luddite: no cellphone, no Facebook, no worries

Published: Thursday, Oct. 17 2013 6:21 p.m. MDT

How to remain unhip: Refrain from having a cellphone and pretend Facebook doesn’t exist. I like being unreachable and prefer my friends in real life, thank you.

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OK, it's confession time, as I reveal just how unhip I am, which is no revelation to those who know me.

First, as I have written before, I do not have a cellphone. My wife, Joyce, has one, and she exchanges texts regularly with various children, grandchildren and friends, while I am happy with phone calls at home and actual face-to-face visits.

So it follows that I don’t have a Facebook page or an iPad or a Kindle or any of the other expensive gadgets that need to be upgraded annually. I am content in my semi-Luddite world, where I still read newspapers and paperback books, work on my desk computer with an actual keyboard, and watch TV shows on TV.

Some of you may be thinking that I’m living in the past. And if I am, hey, I like it there. You should visit sometime.

I have made some concessions, of course. I use the Internet for research, I man my own website, our big-screen television is hi-def and hooked up to a computer so we can stream movies and TV shows, we have canceled our cable/satellite connections, and our home phone is not a landline but an online.

But my abstaining from some of the things that so many of you think of as vital does cause me to remain uneducated about certain things, such as text/tweet acronyms and abbreviations.

So when we saw for the first time the notice that comes up on the screen in Cinemark theaters about turning off cellphones, suggesting a movie theater is not the place for LOL or LMAO, I was a bit puzzled.

Yes, I learned the hard way years ago that LOL is “laugh out loud,” not “lots of love.” But I didn’t know what LMAO stands for. So I asked Joyce. She chuckled as she told me.

As I thought about it later, it began to bother me that LMAO is so commonly used, with the third word in that acronym being a crude term for derrière (unless someone means “laughed my donkey off” … unlikely).

But I let it go, thinking I must be the last person left in the known universe that cares about LMAO. (I also don’t like OMG — or the spelled-out version of that phrase, which is used way too much in movies and TV programs. We watched a show recently where someone said “Oh my gosh,” and Joyce was so surprised that she commented on it.)

Anyway, I was thinking about this when we went to a Cinemark theater last week and the notice about silencing cellphones came on again and, to my surprise, the LMAO portion had been replaced by BFF. (And yes, I know what BFF stands for.)

Apparently someone else was also bothered by LMAO. So much so that Cinemark went to the effort to switch it out.

So kudos to Cinemark for changing something that many people probably think is no big deal.

One last note: However sadistic it may seem, I do love it when technology goes awry, especially when text messages are autocorrected with unintended spellings. I like to think it validates my semi-Ludditeness.

Joyce’s daughter Racquel recently borrowed our DVDs of the BBC series “Sherlock,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and when she got to the end of the last show of “Series 2,” she, like many of us, was perplexed that Sherlock Holmes seemed to have died.

So, looking for resolution and wondering if a “Series 3” was on the way, she texted Joyce and asked about it.

Joyce, using the audio voice-texting device on her phone, replied: “We’ll just have to wait for season 3 to see how he faked his death.”

Naturally, she sent it off before reading it, and then discovered that this is what Racquel received: “We’ll just have to wait for season 3 to see how he ate his dad.”

Ahh, the joys of modern technology.

And “Sherlock: Series 3,” by the way, is not scheduled yet, though Internet chatter suggests it will show up in January 2014. Only three months away.

See, I told you I do research on the Internet.

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." His website — which he weekly updates all by himself — is www.hicksflicks.com

Email: hicks@deseretnews.com

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