Oh Father, Where Hath Thy English Gone?

When online, my Dad communicates like an adolescent.
It’s as if at the ripe old age of 75, he no longer has the time nor the will to attend to grammatical, punctuation, or syntactical rules and norms.  To underscore my point, he’d have ended my previous sentence as follows “…forget ur syn-tax rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
This from a man who used to speak fondly of letters he’d read in Civil War anthologies, letters sent home from average soldiers who lay wounded, dying, or in any case with severe crotch rot.  Oh, how they’d just about break your heart.  How even the most simple and brutish among them could spin a woeful yarn evocative of a gentle soul, imploring Mary Anne’s and Molly’s across the great nation to wait for their fateful return, be they dead or alive.
This from the man who once asked of me that I become a writer, so as to preserve the language, to guard it from the unseemly forces that caused its degradation.  At the time, I was very much of an antithetical mindset, believing in the malleability and fluidity of language, and certain that so long as we were still communicating (as in “getting” each others’ “drifts” no matter how poor the prose) it really didn’t matter a whit. 
But now, looking at the cryptic messages my father sends (e.g. “u should look at u.s. companies……………..hiring like mad……………..might make big bucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”), I find myself wanting to snap him into shape and command him to keep fighting, damn it!  If not for yourself, if not for me, then for the Billy Bob’s dead on the battlefields of Gettysburg!
Well this got me to thinking of what some of those poignant, heart-stirring letters of old might have looked like had they been written in the era not of the feather, quill, and parchment paper, but of the email, the text, and the tweet. 
The “Civil,” or Reconstruction Era version leads in italics, the “Less Civil,” or Moron Era version follows in standard typeface. 
“My Dear Amanda,

It has been a long time since I had an opportunity of writing to you, and I gladly avail myself of the present opportunity.”
“Babe……..long time no talk…..thought I’d shout at ya just say hey LOL……..”
“We captured a good many prisoners while in Mo. and killed a good many.”
“We busted open big can of whoop-ass on those suckas!!!!!!!!
“I am in hopes that I will get a whole package of letters from you in a few days. I never wanted to see you half as bad in all my life as I do now. I would give anything in the world to see you and the children.”
“Yo hit me up, k hotpants?!? I gotta hit dat.  Wanna c those shorties to……”
“My love and a thousand kisses to my own sweet Amanda and our little boys. How my heart yearns for thou that are so near and dear to me. Goodbye my own sweet wife, for the present.”
“Luv u gurl  Xoxoxoxox ;) miss u wifey…….damn…”
After the deliberation & reflection which I thought due to a matter which involved my happiness for life, I felt that her destiny and mine were probably intended to be united, and that all the adverse counsel which I could give myself could bring no objections.
“u r mines….4ever”
Pardon the affectionate familiarity but you know it’s all in fun. Your charming little epistle has just reached me, and I do myself the honor to answer it immediately, thus complying with your request to write soon.
“u know just playin….got ur text…hit me……….”
Commend me to a girl who has life and animation enough to enjoy the harmless pleasures of this beautiful world, in preference to your “Miss Prim,” who would not dare to laugh in louder tones than a whimpering sentimental snicker, for fear of overstepping the bounds of etiquette.
“u gotta live it fo realz….don’ let dem foolz tel u how 2 b actin…!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Well, in sum.  “We find ourselves in a great deal of danger.”
“we screwd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s