Sunday, April 22, 2007

"It's all about the thumbwork"

So says Eli Tirosh, the U.S. Text Messaging champion.

Contestants had to stand with their hands behind their backs until a bell sounded and a message appeared on an overhead screen. The winner was judged on whoever's message -- checked for exact punctuation -- reached the judges first.

The text tests ranged from "faster than a speeding bullet..." and "what we do in life echoes in eternity" to the less poetic "OMG, nd 2 talk asap," which for those over 30 means "Oh my God, need to talk as soon as possible."

The 250 competitors were quickly whittled down to eight semi finalists, one of whom, Anne Finn, 24, of Allegany, New York, said the pressure was too much.

"It was so nerve wracking. My hands started to shake. I couldn't get my apostrophe," she said.

In the end, 13-year-old Morgan Pozgar faced off against Michael "Cheeser" Nguyen in the east coast final, with Pozgar slipping past her challenger to face west coast champion Tirosh, a law student from Los Angeles.

"I just wasn't fast enough," said Nguyen, a 23-year-old engineer from Pennsylvania. Asked how it felt to take second place, he was clearly disappointed: "I just got beaten by a teenage girl, but you know."

You just can't make this stuff up.

It's easy to scoff at a text messaging championship until you discover that the purse for such an event is 25,000 smackers.

I surprised my 15-year-old on Easter Sunday when she texted "Happy Easter" to me & I texted her back. As my husband points out, I may have a law degree, but I'm still technologically-challenged, dumb ol' Mom to a teenager. Now that I know there's a potential college fund source in text messaging, I might not be so hard on her for spending all night using it.