Archive - Jun 2004

June 30th

Thumbthing Thtupid

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Memo to... OK, I honestly have no idea who to address the memo to today. But someone's fuckin' stupid.

I can't exactly call Kimberly Yeo dumb, because she turned an utterly useless skill into about fifteen grand. And I have yet to turn one red cent from MY useless skill in the past six months, so calling her dumb would reflect poorly on me.

I can't really call Guinness dumb. Not the beer, the world record people. They have a job to do. They have a specific mandate in this world. And this mandate not only does not require discretion, but it in fact demands a unique lack of discretion. They have a decades-old history of doing shit like this. It's expected of them.

I'd love to declare, in aggregate, the other 124 people involved, who, unlike Ms. Yeo, gained nothing from the experience except sprained thumbs, to be a gaggle of 'tardhood, but I really can't, because on any given day, any one of them could have come out on top.

I'm sorely tempted to call James Trusler dumb, 'cause I don't even know if he got money when he did it, but let's face it, to be walloped so heinously at something so trivial; to go from Grand Champion to Stuff On A Rock* in a matter of seconds, must already be so incredibly bruising to your ego that any further abuse I piled upon his head would be gratuitous and cruel.

I'm actually heavily inclined to fire all cannons in a massive broadside against SingTel, the Singapore phone company whose fault this latest incident is, but, as the existence of Mr. Trusler shows, they are not the first, and will not be the last.

So I'm forced to throw out a vague, nebulous net of rage that we live in a world in which exists a competition, with cash prizes, a world record, and Guinness certification on the line, for SENDING MOTHERFUCKING TEXT MESSAGES OVER YOUR PHONE.

As lame as the Olympics are, there are certain Darwinian survival traits rewarded with gold medals and cereal boxes. Yes, I'm familiar with rhythmic gymnastics and ice dancing, but overall, on the whole, being three tenths of a second faster than the guy next to you when being chased by a dinosaur** can convey certain useful benefits.

What, exactly, does being the world's fastest text messager get you? Even if you can type out "HLP BNG ETN BY DNOSR" into your phone in three seconds, you're still gonna get chomped before the authorities manage to figure out that means "Help, I'm Being Eaten By A Dinosaur" and dispatches a Rapid Deployment Anti-Dinosaur Team to your location.

For the record, Ms. Yeo was able to send the 160-character message in 43.24 seconds, making James "Pussy Thumbs" Trusler's previous record of 67 seconds seem like a wait at the DMV by comparison. The message? "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human." As you can see, they are attempting to artificially insert an element of danger in a failed stab at relevance.

The text message is already a borderline-irrelevent bit of technology. The ten-key entry for them, even more so. We're in the middle of a peculiar, short-lived bubble in which 23-year-old students in Singapore with fast thumbs can make fifteen grand in a manner nearly 10% less degrading than prostitution. Enjoy your moment in the sun while it lasts, Kimberly. But just remember that the higher you are, the harder the fall will be when someone shaves five seconds off your time thanks to a strict regimen of practice, diet, and crank. Who'll be LOLing then?

* Just officially acknowledging the Norm Macdonald homage here, to stave off the inevitable e-mail.

** I know this one too. Put down the hyperlink to paleontology.com and step away from Outlook, slowly.