It took me a while to understand the sms I received: “coarse runin L8 not gonna mk it 2nite sorry 4 L8 note”. I enlisted the help of The Child, who explained that T was evidently delayed at her computer course and that I should fine an alternate babysitter. This last was easily accomplished, but for the rest of the weekend I kept thinking about the sms and worrying about the fate of the English language. The Husband said I was over-reacting, that every generation had its own vernacular: Mr. Waugh’s crowd surely horrified their parents with ‘smashing!’ and ‘rather!’? And there was that gung ho crowd in Kenya going ‘toodle-pip’ at the end of telephone conversations. Dr. Leary made it acceptable for young people to ‘dig tuning out’. Mr. Kerouac … well, I’d rather not go there! I’m in Mr. Capote’s camp when it comes to Mr. Kerouac: “That’s not writing – that’s typing!”

The replacement babysitter duly arrived and we set off for the Victory Theatre in Houghton. I’d been invited by the Gayspeak Readers Group to see The Rocky Horror Show and took along The Husband, The Pink Sheep In The Family, The Best Friend and Her Dort. The show was wonderful and young Mr. Brendan Van Rhyn (Frank’n’Furter) has to be the most perfectly made human on earth. The house was packed and the repartee between cast and audience was great fun. When Brendan delivered Frank’n ‘Furter’s immortal line “I see you shiver with antici-pation!” I thought the house would come down.

I’d gotten my lines crossed about the after-party and we ended up at Oh! In Melville instead of Risque in Fourways, but we had a good time all the same. Too much wine and I danced, for which I sincerely apologise to the unfortunate witnesses. A delightful young man said I was beautiful, but I rather suspect he mistook me for one of the sorority (fraternity?) of drag queens present. We stayed out far too late, but it was a memorable evening.

I must ask your opinion on something that came up in the course of the night. When we arrived at Oh! I remarked that I love the ‘number’ the DJ was playing. ‘Number!?’ was Friend’s Dort’s horrified and amused reply. We debated the correct term; I disagreed that it should be ‘track’. Surely, a number comprises several tracks? She then said ‘song’, but I couldn’t accept that as it was an instrumental.

Cheerio, have a groovy day, keep on truckin’, hang ten.

And if you can’t say anything nice, try to say it with good grammar.

(Journal entry, April 2008)

To see more bloggers’ takes on this theme, go visit Side View.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. halfp1nt says:

    Lovely, Cin!
    There are days when I feel as though I’m drowning in ‘sms speak’!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m truly concerned for the future of English.

  2. adeeyoyo says:

    Problem is that you no sooner get used to one expression / short-cut than others pop up! I think that smsing has had the biggest effect on language ever!

  3. nrhatch says:

    First, this is “rather” “smashing.”

    Second, my favorite line: “Too much wine and I danced, for which I sincerely apologise to the unfortunate witnesses.”

    Third, when in doubt, call them tunes, man.

    Keep grooving to the tunes!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Can’t live a day without tunes Nancy.

  4. colonialist says:

    How lucky to have seen a production of Rocky Horror! My take on the same line was based on memory of the movie. The word was certainly ‘owned’ by Tim Rice in that!

    I agree that this ‘song’ thing becomes silly, where everything is described as one even if no voice is anywhere near! The ‘tune’ option offered by nrhatch is inappropriate, because in my opinion very few modern ‘numbers’ have one! 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, Col, Tim Rice was clever with the song.

  5. Frankie was the inspiration for it.

  6. kangoo says:


    good post, sorry my grammer is NOT very good, i get moaned at all the time… not to mention my spelling… i blame it on a deprived childhood (lol). 100% in agreement with the texting. In England, a child wrote his whole exam in text, and clearly he failed. It has spread world wide now. It is very sad to see that today, most people are using texting, even when they email….
    iro of the song, number, track….. i agree with the number, most people see it as a track. Each to his own i say.


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