Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

The message of texting

Wick's World


High up in the distant mountains of New Mexico, small villages typically list a population in the range of 23 to 37 on the sign entering town. I spent last week in the valley of one such region where a few ranchers try to eke out a living. The population of the entire valley numbered 135 people.

A friend who owned the premier ranch in the area reflected, “It’s getting too crowded here. When I was a kid, the whole valley had eight people in it.”

It’s difficult to define a mountainous valley as overpopulated with 135 residents, but if you spend your entire life in an area as sparsely populated as this, I guess the point could possibly be made. I think his main complaint wasn’t the invasion of ranchers, but the small businesses set up to lure tourists off the main thoroughfare between Taos and Santa Fe.

One thing the area is not overcrowded with is cell phone towers. One literally has to seek out a certain part of a mountain to have the remote possibility of sending or receiving a phone call. The technology hero that comes to the rescue is text messaging. While away from home, you can correspond with your loved one by typing a message into your cell phone knowing that your partner will eventually be able to reply.

Sometimes the messages shoot across the country instantly, other times they just sit there in the machine until a magic signal directs them homeward. This can make for a delayed conversation; it can also make for a very interesting one.

One of the blips of modern technology is a thing referred to as “spell check” or “autocorrect.” A cell phone comes with the capability of correcting a word you either typed or transcribed with your voice. This opens the floodgates for misinterpretation.

My wife and I felt the necessity of staying in touch on this particular excursion of mine. When I left home, we were experiencing a chipmunk problem. One decided to take up residence in our wall. The first addition to our new home in Eagan was the installation of a doggy door. Mae and Sweet Pea could come and go whenever they needed to do their business. Unfortunately, Mr. Chipmunk found a way through the insulation and up the wall, brought along his wife and began to raise a family.

We set a live animal trap, baited it with peanut butter and sunflowers seeds and waited. Every morning the bait was gone and no chipmunks were in sight. As soon as I left town, I got this text message from my wife, Karen: “Just caught the chipmunk — now what do I do?”

Wick: “Good job. Take him to the other side of the river so he won’t be back or at least down Cliff to Lebanon Park.”

Karen: “I took Kim to the woods by 149 and 55. It was creepy having him in the car.”

Wick: “Who the heck is this creepy guy named Kim and why was he in your car???? What did you do with the damn chipmunk?!”

Karen: “Lol (laugh out loud). Him, not Kim! Him is the chipmunk! Texts make for interesting reading don’t they? There’s more than one chipmunk.”

Wick: “Get him and leave Kim home this time.”

Karen: “Caught another chipmunk!”

Wick: “Is he named Kim? GooNight.”

Karen:” GooNight to you too.”

Karen: “We’ve got a whole commune!”

Wick: “Not to worry. I just got commune training.”

Karen: “Well I haven’t got any training. I just set the traps. Get home!”

Wick: “I’m on my way but we are delayed. There’s some kind of varmint on the plane.”

Karen: “Probably chipmunks!”

Wick: “We dumped him at 30,000 feet. See you soon.”


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