I try to keep up on the latest technology, but boy it moves fast.

I have an iPhone, an iPad, a laptop and all the other techno-necessities needed to survive in today's e-world. I pride myself on having learned how to "friend" someone on Facebook, although most friends my age refuse to join, so I end up reading about my daughter's friends. I know how to "tweet," but I prefer to twerk. And I've learned how to use my iPhone for more than just talking -- music downloads, GPS, sound effects. In fact, it seems like no one actually talks on the phone anymore.

At least that's true of my grown children. They used to call, on occasion, when they needed something. Then email was invented and they switched to communicating with me via typed messages. That was fine, since I could get back to them whenever I felt like it (or pretend I didn't get the message at all). Then instant messages came (and went just as quickly). But now it's all about texting. And that would be fine too, if it weren't for one major problem that ruins the experience: it's usually unreadable.

"Canyon baby's yet laundry totsy?"

Excuse me?

"Canyon maybesit laser delay?"

What?

"CAN YOU BABYSIT LATER TODAY?"


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Apparently, there's this built-in function called auto-correct that's supposed to read your mind when you type. So if you meant to type,"Can you babysit later today?" it's not supposed to translate to, "Canyon baby's yet laundry totsy." It's supposed to know what you meant and correct it automatically. Unfortunately, it often makes mistakes, since it's NOT A PERSON, and I end up reading messages that would be hard to crack even for a cryptanalyst at the CIA.

Granted, my kids are typing with their thumbs while eating a taco, putting on makeup and trying to find a good channel on Pandora that plays only artists that sound like Piggy A Slayer (auto-correcting Iggy Azalea) but don't. It seems to me it would take less time to just auto-dial me. So I've set up an urgency scale for all future communications:

Email: I'll get back to you by the end of the week unless I forget.

Text: I'll get back to you if I can crack the coded message and my thumbs aren't busy.

Cellphone: I'll answer if I'm not driving, eating, putting on makeup, watching TV or napping, but it had better be important.

Landline: I'll never answer because it's just someone who wants to sell me a retractable patio awning or a Precision Nu-wav Induction Cooktop (three easy payments, plus a bunch of free stuff, but the shipping will cost you the same as airfare to Australia.)

Meanwhile, they can message me via Facebook. I'll get back to them after I've seen all the photos of shamed cats and dogs ("I threw up on my master's couch and ate it"), watched all the mob dances ("Old person throws down cane and does the Macarena in the middle of church"), calculated what my old person name would be ("Ethel"), found out where the next zombie outbreak will be (Utah) and watched what Jimmy Fallon parodied last night (Weird Al's new song.)

Until then, dry 2 vigor our watt his stays.

Reach Penny Warner at www. pennywarner.com.