COMMENTARY: Texting can be a dead serious message

MIKE VINSON, Special to the Courier

A lesson that I carried with me from the military is the importance of “communication.”

When attacking the enemy, a first-echelon priority is to knock out all forms of communication.


When members of a particular system cannot communicate with one another, it creates intra-group fighting, which creates chaos, which creates vulnerability.

Just apply this communication logic to yourself: You really need to reach someone on the telephone; the reason for your call is of monumental importance!

However, the individual you wish to speak to isn’t answering for any variety of reasons: busy with a client who is more important than you; in the middle of heavy traffic and the cell phone is at the very bottom of a Hollywood-size, designer purse/handbag, covered in a heap of personal items from Clinique cosmetics to gym attire; or, simply, the party’s cell phone is out of service.

Regardless the reason, you’re so mad that you could bite the head off a nail!

Most of us have “been there and done that.”

I’ve owned a cell phone for several years.

However, it wasn’t until a few months ago that I started “texting.”

In fact, at one point, I’d sworn that I never would text.  

Not only did I find it rude and disruptive, I noticed far too many people—of all ages—diddling away far too much time texting.

In all honesty, it got on my last nerve.

However, here’s what caused me to capitulate: There was a writing opportunity that came my way, and the source who had the ability to make this opportunity happen directed me to “text” him.

Well, I wasn’t about to tell him my disdain for, nor lack of ability at, texting, so I approached a lady friend who was quite adept at texting and asked her to give me a “crash course.”

Indeed, the lady friend provided me with some hands-on instructions, and within a matter of hours, I’d entered the high-tech world of texting.  

For several weeks, I’d been contemplating doing a column on cell phones/ texting, but I always dismissed the notion because I figured we’d already heard enough about it ... old news.

However, a recent event persuaded me to speak up:

I walked up to the ATM of my local bank to withdraw some money.

I swiped my card, punched in my PIN, and punched in the amount.

I could hear the machine buzzing, tallying up my money for withdrawal.

About that time, I received a texting “beep.”

No one was in line behind me, so I took out my cell phone and started reading the text message; ironically, it was from the very same lady friend who’d taught me how to text.

In a matter of seconds, the ATM drawer opened, displaying my money.

Since I was in the middle of reading the text, I decided to finish reading it before grabbing my cash from the drawer.

Next thing I knew, the ATM drawer retracted.

“Uh-oh!” I thought.

So, I went inside and explained my situation to the ladies in the bank.

They were nice as could be, but, as a matter of bank protocol, I had to fill out some forms and, too, had to wait a few days to get my “retracted withdrawal” straightened out.

(NOTE: Beth Myers, assistant branch manager of Regions Bank in McMinnville, went out of her way to assist me.)

While this story contains intended humor, it, actually, is underlined with bold seriousness: Though my preoccupation with “texting” only cost me time, some embarrassment, and a short delay in much-needed funds, I have to wonder how many human lives are lost on a daily basis because of motor vehicle operators attempting to read/send text messages while driving?

If the truth could be revealed, I’d say more lives are lost because of texting than DUI’s.