ImageYou say youíre not familiar with text messaging? Well, all the kids are doing it. Itís so much easier than talking on the phone, which, after all, requires the laborious movement of one's jaw and the ever-taxing production of sound. And itís useful for communicating at and from loud events like concerts and ball games (having shelled out 60 clams for a ticket, one wants to ignore said events discreetly). Texting is also handy when you absolutely must converse with two people at the same time, i.e. one on the cell, the other through acronyms (it's still rude but in a cool, cutting-edge way and so much less obvious than clackety-clacking away on your desktop while on the phone with Aunt Barb). Furthermore, it can be downright indispensable in class and while traversing surface streets (don't try this on the freeway).

So you see, there's no point in fighting a rising tide. As millions of folks regress to a lexicon dominated by abbreviations and coded truncations like "LOL" and "L8R," the least we can do is offer a few new turns of the screw. Hence The EE Menu of Text Expressions (each entry conveniently fewer than 160 characters), for those forced to thumb-type on the go who nonetheless mourn the loss of grandiloquent public expression. NJOY!

NLE2M: Not laughing, even to myself.
URSAGAM: Your spelling and grammar appall me.
TWDOWWRAANC: Texting while driving Ö oops, wasnít watching road and am now crashing.
URD2M: Youíre dead to me.
STMAPUTFP: Stop texting me and pick up the f---ing phone.
ISOURG: I spit on your grave.
OLRUS: Our lives are unpardonably shallow.
TUMFTI: Thought you might find this interesting (particularly useful when forwarding an e-clipping about a
               newly discovered health risk).
CTNTF: Canít text now; thumbs fatigued.
TRE: Technology ruins everything.
IBMM: I blame Marshall McLuhan.
23S!: 23 skidoo!
WIWURAWDHTM: When I was your age, we didnít have text messaging.
ISRN2U: Iím standing right next to you.
HWBNIICSM: Hit wrong button; now inexplicably in clock-setting menu.
HSORAID2PLSM: Heard song on radio and instantly downloaded to phone! Life still meaningless.
NPM@TT: No personal message at this time.

Of course, sometimes employing even this little language is prohibitively enervating. Emoticons to the rescue! These clever diacritical sculptures allow us to add a bit of emotional nuance to our abbreviated messages. Still, how often can we lean on smileys, frowneys and cobbled-together Valentine hearts? Here, too, we believe, there's room for surprise.

:| Iím neutral.
:} I seem to have grown a handlebar mustache.
:{> Now I have a van dyke.
:^# My new braces are uncomfortable.
:& People often tell me my mouth resembles an ampersand. (Alternately: Eating a pretzel.)

Have you composed some fresh texting shorthand? This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it via the ancient medium of e-mail.