I have a friend whose name is Hot Gary. This is not his actual name, of course, but it's my duty to protect his identity, so I'll refer to him as Hot Gary -- even though everyone knows his real name is Gabe and that he still lives with his parents. Hot Gary works at a restaurant on the west side. Like many restaurant employees, he works until about eleven and then either heads home or attempts to join friends already out on the town. Because anyone who works in the restaurant industry is an alcoholic. Or a cock-sucking, toothless meth fiend. But the thing about Hot Gary is that he is also a schemer, always has been, and so rather than call up friends to see what they're doing and if he can join them for a mojito or a Tom Collins, Hot Gary texts.
Scratch that. Hot Gary mass-texts.
This behavior reached appalling heights this fall. I'd be out with a few friends, all of whom were also friends with Hot Gary, and all of a sudden every one of our front pockets would vibrate at the same time, eliciting confusion in some, erections in others, as Hot Gary mass-texted us all the same message, which usually went something like this: "Getting home from work soon, what's the plan?"
Or, if you use predictive text, "Getting me from work pot, why the plane?"
We soon realized that Hot Gary's web of inquiry extended much farther than just us, his inner circle of friends. In fact, it wasn't uncommon for Hot Gary to text twenty people the same message at the same time. And while we admired Hot Gary's efficiency in obtaining information about what was going on around the city, we soon grew to resent the informalness of it all. If you want to know what I'm up to, Gary, text me, not your whole damn clique. Besides, often when one of us would text him back, letting him know where we were, he'd already be pursuing a better offer and never have the courtesy to inform us of his decision.
So we got even with Hot Gary. Whenever I was out with friends and we received the same simultaneous text, one of us would send him back completely false information, hyping the most awesome fictional Wednesday night ever.
"56th and Peoria, hot bitches everywhere, and OutKast! Come now!" Or, in predictive text, "56th and renovate, hot Civics dutifully, and Outkast! Bone Onyx!"
Hot Gary soon learned his lesson, and he no longer includes me in his mass-texts. Many of you, however, still do.
This lecture is not addressed to those of you who send out a text to everyone in your phone book hyping some event. That's fine. You're shill monkeys, and it wouldn't be right of me to get mad at a shill monkey for doing what a shill monkey does. That would be like if I got mad at a restaurant worker for having no teeth and sucking so much cock for meth; it's just in their DNA. No, it's meant for everyone who decided to share their holiday cheer via mass text messages.
Now, I don't want to come across as a Scrooge here -- because everyone knows Scrooge was a Jew, and that's not how I like to present myself. But to anyone who mass-texted "Happy Thanksgiving," "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year" (predictive text: Gaspy Thank You, Messy Christian and Gaspy New Wear, respectively), I do not accept your tidings. What, exactly, were you hoping to accomplish? The spreading of goodwill? That's like trying to create pen-pal relationships with buddies around the world by sending the same form letter to every one of them. That's not honest; that's not heartfelt. You think your little friend Hassan in Mogadishu needs that kind of falsity right now? An afterthought hello with no personal feeling or real love attached? Don't you think he has enough to worry about what with the Islamic militiamen beating down his door and everything? These mass-text assaults are no different.
I appreciate that you holiday mass-texters were thinking of me on these hallowed days, I really do. But if you're thinking of someone, why not give that someone a personal text or, fuck it, a phone call? Then the two of you can get together like real people, catch up and reminisce, laugh and love, and then, probably get in a fight and never talk again -- until two months later, that is, when you finally reconnect on MySpace.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.