Platts: Older man trapped in group text with millennials
November 15, 2015
A 78-year-old man admitted himself to Aspen Valley Hospital yesterday due to fear he was having a heart attack after being forced to participate in a group text.
Gary Smith, grandfather and longtime Aspen resident, had recently been gifted a new iPhone 6 by one of his daughters. With only a day to familiarize himself with the device, he was unwillingly enlisted in a group text with several of his grandchildren to discuss their upcoming visit to see him in Aspen. After that, Smith confided, things became hazy and unclear.
"My phone kept going off like an alarm," the startled man said from his bed at Aspen Valley Hospital after being diagnosed with a minor anxiety attack and upset stomach. "I couldn't understand a damn word any of them were saying."
Smith said several unrecognized phone numbers were incessantly posting unidentifiable words within the group text such as "btw", "lmao", "omg" and "wtf".
“This problem isn’t going away anytime soon. As technology and social media progress, we are going to see an even larger communication gap between the young and old,” millennial observer Carol Douglas said.
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"It was like I had entered a different country. They were speaking an entirely different language," Smith said.
Some of the words even progressed to phrases like "we be shreddin dat nar soon" and "Im takin face shots all day." Smith has skied since he moved to Aspen in 1985 but admitted to never hearing such outlandish terms about the wonderful sport.
"There was no respect for grammar or spelling," Smith said. "I was shocked that these texters were related to me."
The most frustrating part of this exchange was that he had no control over it. He was not asked if he wanted to participate and he was unable to find a way out, Smith said.
Dr. Brad Carson (no known relation to the GOP Strongman Candidate), who tended to Smith and is also a renowned researcher for technology's effects on the brain, said that this is a common problem when older generations try to communicate with the tech-absorbed youth of today.
"There's simply no way to keep up and it can often make less experienced texters feel overwhelmed and even frightened for their life," Carson said. "But, no matter how anxious this communication can make someone feel, it's not life-threatening. It's simply in their head."
Smith's case is one of many sweeping the country right now as many try to come to grips with this foreign technological boom.
"This problem isn't going away anytime soon. As technology and social media progress, we are going to see an even larger communication gap between the young and old," millennial observer Carol Douglas said. "It's vital that we prepare for this disconnect and give youth and adults the tools they need to communicate clearly with one another."
At present time, Smith is home safe and recovering well. He's under strict orders from his doctor to avoid iPhone communication until further notice.
"He's in such a fragile mental state," Dr. Carson said. "We want to give him a chance to recover before sending him out into battle again."
In an effort to make sure others don't suffer the same fate as Smith, the City of Aspen has posted "How to communicate with your millennial" instructions throughout town. For more information, go to commmunicatewithyourmillennial.com.
Barbara confesses that everything in this story (to her knowledge) is entirely made up. Sometimes offseason is so quiet that there isn't much to do except make up stories. Reach her at email@example.com.
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