I buy my underwear at K-Mart

Image of Dustin Hoffman from Rainman

As a growing number of consumers opt for smartphones and tablets, moving away from PCs and laptops, an increasing volume of communication is being performed by these smaller, more portable, handheld devices. A recent TechRepublic article has gone so far as to suggest that tablets will replace the office telephone, making it obsolete, in the not too distant future. In 2011's fourth quarter, with smartphone sales surpassing PC sales in the marketplace, some techno-pundits are forcasting the demise of the PC by as early as 2016.

Recently I've noticed a significant increase in the number of personal emails in my inbox which originate from handheld devices. One can hardly help but notice given that appended to the bottom of the corresponding messages are monosylabic grunting noises which, presumably, are intended to point out just how chic and cool the device owner really is. In my less than humble view, the only purpose these brand taglines serve is to demonstrate precisely how much of an iDork their owner is and how easily they, as consumers, have been sucked in.

"Sent from my iPad!", one email proclaims. "Sent from my iPhone!" boasts another. Not to be outdone by the competition, a third email trumpets "Sent from my Blackberry!". I think any semblance of cogent communication was lost a couple of weeks ago when I received an email which simply read: "Waiting on the doctor". Appended to the end of the brief message were the words: "Sent from my Blackberry device over the Rogers secure wireless network!". When over half the bandwidth in any given transmission is being used by the service provider to advertise their service and the client is footing the bill, it seems a bit to me like the tail is wagging the dog.

"Just how redundant... how unimaginative... how utterly farking superfluous can correspondence really get?", I wondered. It's like exchanging email with Raymond "Rain Man" Babbitt fer crissakes. You don't know what sort of incoherent or unimportant rambling might follow. "I buy my underwear at K-Mart!". Or, my personal favourite, "Ten minutes to Judge Wabner!".

Taglines are like penises... if you're going to put one on display for everyone to see, dress it up nice or, in the very least, have the courtesy to make it amusing. There are many anecdotes to choose from and although I'm talking taglines here, and not penises, the distinction might not be quite so apparent. "If you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes" is a subtle example. Of course I've always preferred dark and edgy so something like "Life is a swirling eddy of dispair in an ever-blackening universe" or "Beneath the facade of laughter lay a torn and shattered man" has a certain appeal.

A four word message originating from a handheld device does not impress me. A four word message scribbled on papyrus and found in a cave or chiselled as a hieroglyph into a huge rock...... now you've got my attention. I can't imagine archeologists, 20,000 years into the future, unearthing a Crackberry that sparks a huge academic debate over the linguistic etymology of CUL8R. I can, however, envision them puzzled by the skeletal remains of hominids with big thumbs. Surely if handheld devices are the way of the future then we must, as a species, adapt to the new environment. It's inevitable; us big-thumbed Neanderthals will be left swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool.

In closing, let me reiterate that the plural of penis is, indeed, penises. I would not have known that had I not embarked on this diatribe as, mercifully, I have only one. As a consequence I'm able to say, without reservation, "I buy my underwear at K-Mart!".

Submitted by Jeff Dubois, 31 March 2012