Thursday, 23 September 2010

Lost for Words

Let's try and get to grips with the scale of things. Just imagine that Dr Samuel Johnson was lying there in his coffin with a rubber and his dictionary. Naturally, I expect he'd need a torch in there too which in turn would need batteries and the whole thing's getting overly anachronistic but stay with me if you can. Say he rubs out the word 'writing' for example. All of a sudden, amongst widespread confusion over such a lexical absence, the whole English-speaking world has to think of a new one and agree upon it. Would the government step in? The Queen? After all, it's hers, isn't it? Perhaps she would stop writing letters. Maybe she'd reply to her correspondences by text. Or start phoning people out of the blue. You could be driving and, unable to resist picking up Her Majesty's call, you crash and afterwards, you couldn't even remember why.

We might find that the easiest solution would be to abandon all forms of proper writing. But there's a hidden danger here too and one we're already facing. Viruses. You know that computer keyboards are the dirtiest, germ-ridden items we touch regularly? Well, next time you switch on, be aware that brushing your fingertips across the keyboard is leaving you vulnerable to attack. You won't feel a thing, that's the clever part. The fingers are in on it already. Logging on to your computer without thinking about it? Touch typing? Then you know what I mean. It's only a matter of time.

One day, someone, somewhere will invent a virus and you'll be in the middle of a conversation - maybe with your work colleague – and you'll be offering them something to improve their sex life. Maybe you'll even do it with particularly bad syntax or lacking any grammatical structure whatsoever. Or worse. If you shook their hand that morning, you'll have already passed it on. The meeting you would have had then turns into utter filth and badly-spoken nonsense. The only way to deal with it will be to delete and reinstall the lot of you and no one wants that in these times of austerity, do they?

Be careful out there, won't you?

No comments: