Texting for Seniors

ATD: At The Doctor’s
BFF: Best Friend Farted
BTW: Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM: Covered By Medicare
CGU: Can’t Get Up
CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center
DWI: Driving While Incontinent
FWB: Friend With Beta-blockers
FWIW: Forgot Where I Was
FYI: Found Your Insulin
GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA: Got Heartburn Again
HGBM: Had Good Bowel Movement
IMHO: Is My Hearing-aid On?
LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL: Living On Lipitor
LWO: Lawrence Welk’s On
OMMR: On My Massage Recliner
OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas.
PIMP: Pooped In My pants
ROFL… CGU: Rolling On the Floor Laughing… Can’t Get Up
SGGP: Sorry, Gotta Go Poop
TTYL: Talk To You Louder
WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?
WTFA: Wet The Furniture Again
WTP: Where’s The Prunes?
WWNO: Walker Wheels Need Oil
GGLKI: Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In

Thank you, Fredrick, for sharing. I am sure thousands will enjoy. 📲📲📲📲

Internet + Death

When I was in the taxi riding home from JFK airport two weeks ago, after our trip to Croatia, I received this text from the superintendent of my NYC coop: “Your neighbor in 10A passed.”

I was stunned on several accounts.

First, I never understood that expression. Passed? I am not trying to be funny, but passed what? An exam? Broke wind? Passed a stone? I just asked Eliot if he agreed with the expression “passed” before writing this post. He got annoyed with me and in a tone that only a 100-year marriage could produce (remember, we work together 24/7), he sighed, “What do you think it means? Passed. Like in passed on. Like no longer living. Like on to the afterlife.” It seemed to make sense during his explanation, but I don’t like it.

Secondly, I was stunned to receive a text. That seems to be the way I am receiving death notices these days. Cut and dry. No need for small talk. “Virginia passed.” Now don’t say that this is “just New Yorkers.” Many people in my coop know each other well because we are always at each other’s throat over some issue.

Virginia was another story. My quiet neighbor who I’ve seen maybe 10 times in the last 20 years even though we lived side-by-side, seemed happy and healthy when we met at the trash chute a month ago. She was around my age and single. I was on my way to work when she opened the door to throw out her garbage. This was our usual encounter. Virginia had been sick a few years back and looked frail for quite some time. In the last year or two she seemed active and carefree. I also confirmed this with our doormen. They know things like that.

I tried to talk to our super Salim face-to-face, but he was too busy in the morning before I left for work and off the premises when I came home at night. So the texting continued. “What happened?” I texted.  He texted back, “Her nephew called me to say that he couldn’t reach her. When he came to the building a few hours later, we both went into her apartment together. We found her in bed, gone.”

When I met up with Salim days later, he told me that in the 20 years he has been working in the building this marked the eighth body he’s discovered — several found in bath tubs, on the floor, or slumped in a chair.

The third thing that stunned me was the notice the police posted on Virginia’s door. Until an autopsy is performed and a death is determined, no one is allowed to enter the apartment. The seal on the door cannot be broken. Salim promised to text me the findings. Other neighbors asked me to text them what I’ve learned.

Texting has replaced hanging out the window, screaming your neighbor’s name.

By the way, we argue by text as well but we use CAPS. “SCREW YOU!!”

I wanted to tell you this story after reading Jenna Wortham’s New York Times piece about “Death Online.” Jenna has been reporting on digital news for years. She is well-respected and adored.

NYTimes: Digital Diary: Talking About Death Online

Posting about a personal loss online makes people — both the poster and the readers — uncomfortable. Why does the social Web seem limited to a few emotions? http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/digital-diary-talking-about-death-online/

Rest In Peace Virginia


Yesterday I received several texts from friends and family: 

1-Dave is in the hospital. He had a heart attack.

2-Joanie miscarried. 

3-I need $50,000 to help develop this app. Can you help me find the money? 

4-We have to cancel Saturday night. Something came up. 

5-Can you distribute this press release for me?  I don’t have a budget. 

6-I just got fired.  Can I freelance for you? 

There was a time when these six topics would have had more relevance in my life.  I would spend  15-to-30 minutes discussing the who, what, where, why, when and how with each of the people who had sent the message.  The discussions would then spill over to the rest of my life, fueling further thought and consideration.  Nowadays these texts are just represent fleeting moments with people who are becoming strangers. We are mere bulleted points to each other.  

I am not saying that I actually have time for these discussions. The demands of the Internet eat up a tremendous amount of time. However, it is pretty sad when you realize that the people who sent these messages, don’t have time for me either.  They wanted to dispense the information and be done with it.  That is what the world has come to.  No more discussions, confrontations, debates, or live sharing. 

I find it funny that a lot of seniors are heavily involved in texting too. These are the same people who claim they are technophobes.  That’s strange. It didn’t take them very long to catch on. I think most seniors were forced into texting. If they want to have any kind of a relationship with their children, they had to learn fast.  I love it when I ask some of my friends how many times a week they speak to their adult children?   Most of them are stretching the truth when they say “A few times a week.”  I find out later it was all through text messages. Most seem to be fine with it.  They don’t have a choice. 

A client of ours, who developed a voice over Internet cell phone service, recently visited Cornell University to research the value of texting. I was shocked when he told me that students prefer texting. A phone call to them is like showing up unannounced at their front door. It frightened me when I first heard that because I felt it showed  the younger generation to be completely distorted.  Not long after, I realized I was like that too. A case in point: My doorman rang my intercom in my NY apartment to say that one of my neighbors wanted to talk to me.  There is a protocol in urban living.  You ask the doorman to announce you.  You just don’t show up.  Most New Yorkers keep their doors locked and don’t want surprise visits. I am one of those people. 

I remember when I was growing up my mother and her friends had a revolving door friendship. They didn’t knock. They just entered.  I thought that was the natural state of living until I moved out on my own.  I wanted my privacy. I guess that is what kids want today as well. They don’t want to be questioned or judged.   This is spreading to senior friendships too.  It is no longer about sharing. It is now all about me, myself and I.