Notes To Nancy: Cold Fingers Slow Texting

Dear Nancy,

It’s so cold in the mornings, so I put on a coat or sweatshirt every day. What am I supposed to do with it when I get to school?

-Cold and Concerned


Dear Cold and Concerned,

We hang our coats up at home and rest them on racks at other venues. The impersonal schoolhouse, however, offers us no such amenities when we cross its volcanic threshold. It’s the climate-change no one in Washington is talking about. How can our children keep up if their coats are being left behind?

Your locker is the obvious choice for garment disposal, but use caution. Lockers are mating grounds for libidinous outerwear. Come June, you’ll find yourself carrying from class to class a mound of coats you forgot you owned, each one bearing a lift-ticket you were too cool to cut off.

In dealing with a sweatshirt (particularly the hooded variety, the de facto uniform of your apathetic generation) one is allotted more freedom. There are ways a sweatshirt can be “worn” to minimize its stifling effect. I’ve found that tying a sweatshirt around the waist can be seen as slovenly and wearing it around the neck may warrant the label of “tool.” The logical compromise, then, is to tie the limp appendages just below your underarms. In my case, a sweatshirt on the chest has the added benefit of obscuring gravity’s handiwork in the same region …

A quick caveat about sweatshirt removal: Unless you are a proponent of the zippered sort, you must exert great care when taking off a sweatshirt. I’ve seen too many hairy backs and unsavory midriffs revealed by people who rip off their sweatshirts with the vigor one generally reserves for a Band-Aid.



Dear Nancy,

I sometimes find myself using IM lingo in conversational speech. Is this OK?



Dear Txty,

Let me try to put your “lingo” in context. How would you react if one of your friends followed a quip by saying “01001100 01001111 01001100” or clicking “.-.. — .-..”? That would be “lol” in binary and Morse code, respectively. These “languages” evolved with the technology of the time, but we were spared their transition to conversational speech. The old platitude is appropriate; there’s a time and a place for everything.

IM lingo may spew forth from your fingers but it should never be uttered. Truthfully, I’m struggling to understand what words and phrases you could be referring to. Many words are often truncated by the agile-thumbed, but their abbreviations would be indistinguishable in speech. How would your friends know if you were to refer to them as “U” as opposed to “you?”

I assume that your indiscretions involve those laughter acronyms (lol, rofl, lls, etc.). Conceived to take the place of unceasing strings of “ha’s,” they serve no purpose when one can see the person he’s talking to. Consider the implications of actually saying what they mean. That is, following each of your chuckles with the declaration that you are “laughing out loud” – absurd, I know. While laughing is quite innocuous, I hope you can see where you’d get in trouble by vocally announcing all of your bodily functions, lol.