I wish I were deft as young chums
who know how to twiddle their thumbs
typing texts of their own
over cellular phone
as swift and correct as they come.

But I’m not only old, I am dumb
and forced to the pure tedium
of one finger indexy
(it’s not very sexy)
O fee, and fie-fo, and fo-fum.



77 responses »

    • Now that is a clever reversal of itty-bitty fingers, Cindy. I like it… like another cup of tea with my lovely, like-named buddy-Γ -la blog, as we virtually lift our cups to each other, pinkies delicately curled…

  1. This put a smile on my face:) I’m a one fingered sms typing type as well, but my phone is so old and dumb that it can’t even keep up with that. I generally stop poking mid-sentence to let the display catch up.

  2. I wonder if any young folks read your posts, Cynthia. They’ll shake their heads in sorrow at those of us who don’t make use of our opposable thumbs.

    • Hi Yvonne… it’s a treat to find your comment here! I guess monkeys—with their opposable thumbs—-would be very good at texting, too. The young’uns tell me it’s just a matter of practice, and so I’m sure it is. But I’d rather practice something that uses all of my fingers….like the piano…

  3. This brought me a smile – so true and I am extra hampered by the fact that I broke the base of my right thumb some years ago and now it doesn’t work well at all!

  4. Oh this is so fun Cynthia – I’m am so with you. Wish you could have seen my younger nieces and nephews last week whose fingers and thumbs were flying over they keys (and abbreviations too that I have had no clue the meaning!). I shake my head in amusement and just smile – progress, so they say! (I have an old IBM manual typewriter in the attic – ha!!)

    • It’s inevitable with the passage of time, that we must watch familiar things drift into obsolescence and find ourselves amid confusing new contraptions, I guess. As long as we don’t fall into the annoying habit of preaching about “the good old days” (which weren’t necessarily any better!) and can laugh at ourselves. Maybe the youngsters find us quaint but their quaint days will come…. I still have an old manual typewriter too. It’s a conversation piece, now, and once, when a nephew was visiting and tried it out, he said: “Wow! A keyboard and printer all in one!”

      • That is funny – can you imagine what was running through your nephews mind when he saw the typewriter?! It takes me much longer to type on my phone than I do on my laptop computer.

        • Typing on the larger qwerty keyboard is quicker for me too. As an elective course in high school I took Personal Typing because I wanted to be able to type my term papers in college. My Dad advised me: do take a typing course, but don’t tell anyone you know how. He was a feminist even way back then!

  5. I was elated at the new technology–at first. I mean to be able to talk to someone, farther away than spitting distance, by speaking here (points mischievously to small disk) and then bringing a strange, umbilically-attached cone to my ear is truly wonderful. It will never last, but it’s a lot of fun.

    So instead of using this ‘invention of the century,’ I prefer instructing my loyal subjects (mostly pot scrubbers, though I am told some literary agents have been seen in the catacombs, dreaming of the day they too may be pot scrubbers) on how to better perform their duties by raising my voice from the comfort of my curule chair rather than using the so-called telephone.

    I didn’t quite catch the drift of your oblique references to finger calisthenics, but I expect that’s just you being a poet.

    • I don’t mean to rush you, but despite how far you’ve come since you first were granted that curule chair—which I assume is suitably upholstered with richly patterned silk and damask and not just a little canvas folding seat like the one I use for plein air poetry writing—many further so-called improvements have supplanted the fun contraption you mention.

      I won’t bother your pretty little pate with the details, since you seem to have your own situation fully under control. Suffice it to say that everything now seems to involve digits rather than analogies and where there once was voice there is now text, and where there once was text, there is now voice. I still like your own style of the shout best, though it is not vastly teleological.

      • I may have, as Rip Van Winkle before me, fallen asleep for a time. Things, judging by your reaction, seem so complicated now. But if you say things are so–they must be. Incidentally, have you seen a mental health professional lately? You may wish to expound on these wild theories of yours to see what kind of looks you garner. Then, when you are committed to a state sanatorium, take care to select an institution with an adjacent patio so that you may continue your plein air poetry sessions.

        “Bring me my saffian slippers, you saucy wench,” enunciated in a loud, anarchic voice usually gets results for me–so I’ll stick with that.

        • Now, Prospero, you already know my views on mental health professionals…excepting you, of course. No need for a special institution called a state sanatorium since the inmates have already escaped and are everywhere hereabouts and thereabouts, especially on the internet. This is why I am a hermit and rarely go out, except, of course to my lovely back yard all green with aromatic trees, climbing clematis, campanula, roses, cherry tomatoes, butterflies and bees….plein air poetry for sure.

          I like that image of you commanding your saffian slippers to be fetched; it’s so…so Shakespearean, in a Moroccan sort of way.

          • “No need for a special institution called a state sanatorium since the inmates have already escaped and are everywhere…”

            Agreed (says he from his secluded spot in the bosom of Sun Haven, the sanatorium of his choice (the others were all too bright– this one is perfectly gloomy, despite the name).

            Your backyard sounds lovely. The grounds at Sun Haven are overgrown and replete with carnivorous plants and carnivorous pot scrubbers.

            It’s good to be a hermit. Thinking like the masses is bad for your creativity (excuse me for a moment while I put down my Pokemon Go).

            ‘put down’ as in take out of its misery–the way one might put down a horse or something.

            Where was I? Oh yes, Rip Van Winkle. Internet–I really have missed some bits while dozing off. The internet. What is it? Is it bigger than a breadbox?

            • “Bigger than a breadbox”…it’s been ages and eons since I heard that expression. Do people still have breadboxes? I’ll check for them on Amazon, but I’ll bet if they still exist, they’re probably no longer the size, shape, color or material of a proper breadbox so one could no longer be sure what “bigger than a breadbox” might mean. Just like the internet.

              And now I will let you get back to your nap, dear Prospero. Pleasant dreams…

              • But, in closing, let me add that it may be the perfect subject for your next poem: is the internet bigger than a breadbox? With all the uncertainties inherent in the morphology of the modern (or post-modern) breadbox and the complexities of your enjambments and cascades of sound–it really ought to make for an exceptionally good poem, the type of thing your readers expect from your ‘ plein air’ offerings .

                Now, I promise to go back to sleep for another twenty years or so. Don’t start a war or anything while I’m slumbering .

  6. The digital generation is running faster than us , We are amazed by their technological speediness but do they still have time for reflexion? I am slow on my large keyboard ; Despite of that I am the prince of the typing mistake. Imagine with the mini keyboard of a cell phone, I would become the king of the typing mistake ! .
    BTW I loved the alliteration of the last line of the poem but not sure of having understood the meaning. It is without importance . Only the music is important in this case ! πŸ™‚ Right, Cynthia?
    Love ❀

    • Indeed it all goes so fast now, Michel. I find myself wanting to say “slow down, slow down; we humans are not mindless machines.” As far as typing goes, I am too slow at that to make texting a worthwhile experience….and O those mistakes! And do I sometimes hate the way even my laptop keyboard has that auto-correct feature—as if it knows better what I want to say!

      The last line of the poem is all nonsense and only there for the rhythm and sound. However, it is a small parody, in a way, from a well-known English fairy tale, “Jack and the Beanstalk.” A famous quatrain from that little story is when the fearsome Giant says:

      “FEE, FI, FO, FUM!
      I smell the blood of an Englishman
      Be he alive or be he dead
      I’ll grind his bones to make my bread”


  7. What I cannot stand is the rape of language that is becoming a rage. The proficiency in thumb-twiddling is increasingly manifesting itself in everything the supersonic generation is doing. Often it doesn’t take me more than a ‘wid’ or ‘coz’ to abandon an otherwise cogent piece they might have written.

    • The old idiom “to twiddle one’s thumbs” meant to pass the time doing nothing while waiting for something to happen. It’s ironic that in a time of ever greater “communication” the possibilities for language seem to be getting more and more narrow. I agree with you: some of those mannerisms and certainly the use of vulgarity almost as a frequent punctuation mark, puts me off and I abandon further reading.

    • Hello Ellen! When I wrote the title “Thumb Thing” it took me a couple of seconds to realize I was lisping….and then I cracked-up laughing. Such odd happenings are great fun. Every day should have a favorite thing….so I’m glad yours did!

  8. I grinned through this, loving the beat of it. I must confess to using my thumbs, but not with the lightning dexterity of those much younger. Sometimes a phone is for texting, too!

    • In what little texting I’ve done, I’ve noticed how quickly and easily one falls into odd spellings and phrasings just for the sake of speed and brevity; it seems unavoidable, the nature of the beast.
      So it’s no wonder that some are bemoaning the deterioration of the written word and a lost richness of literacy. Of course, the word ‘phone’ refers to sound, so sending text over the air waves isn’t really phonic…though I don’t know what to call it. Maybe telegraphic.
      It’s good, if you have a need to text often, that you have mastered the thumb thing….but then, dearie, you’re much younger than I!

      • Where I show my age is in traditional spelling and complete sentences when I text. The thing is, a text should be short enough it doesn’t matter–it ain’t email! But telegraphic might indeed be the word for it…

  9. Just as much fun reading all the conversations that arise from your offering this week as it was reading the poem itself Cynthia! Brought such a smirk to my early morning drowsiness ……..
    We can all relate if we are under 25 – even my daughters now watch the young’uns with looks of bemusement! My texting is accompanied by much sighing and the odd expletive as my fingers [yes, fingers, no thumbs used in my texting!] appear to be too big for the keyboard and another letter or entire word appears. I turned off that auto text thingy as it kept supplying me with words that wouldn’t do at all – why is it assuming we are all writing about sex or gender related topics? My phone, which became quite clever a year ago, is still a tad short of being smart so I mostly stick to texting and the odd phone call when I really have to speak to someone. I am constantly bemused by the speed with which technology is advancing and the way in which that generation picks it up and runs with it. I think Pokemon Go is a pretty cool invention – its got all the kids off their backsides and out into the world looking at things for things and interacting with regular folk. Fun!

    Your garden sounds delightful! I had a dream that I had a cottage with a garden like a forest glade. I almost wept when I woke up and saw it wasn’t so. Hey ho!!

    • I enjoy all of you who comment, Pauline, and especially that you enjoy reading each other! And early morning is the very best time for smirking, I think. Better than frowning, first thing. I do wonder how and why the gadgets come to have that “intuition” that tells us what we want to say before we say it. I once had an acquaintance who used to finish my sentences for me, and it drove me right up a wall!

      I have a theory about the fingers feeling too big for those little keys. Most of the keyboards I’ve known in my life involved percussion, i.e. whether it was the piano or the manual typewriter, it required a certain pressure on the keys to work. These electronic keyboards—especially the little phones—are hypersensitive, and you can almost skim past them, instead of pressing. I think younger people have “keyed” into that, and that’s why they can go so fast. We probably stop to press them too hard. However, like you, I am all sighs and expletives when I have to do it.

      I don’t know much about Pokemon Go. I’ll have to tune in to that.

      Oh, I’m sorry your cottage garden disappeared with your dreams. Mine is all from folks who lived here before me,(except for the pot of cherry tomatoes, which I keep watered by opening my kitchen window and spraying them with the spray thingy attached to my sink) since I cannot do it myself anymore. I never met the previous owners, and they are now deceased. But I thank them often, wherever they are.

      I hope you are thinking of doing your beautiful little oasis again this coming spring. Have been thinking of you often, and hoping this winter is passing, for you, towards more warmth and light.

      • My real ‘garden’ is a sad and sorry sight at this time of the year. The courtyard gets no sun at all for four months and everything sits in a dead and sodden mass until I can bear to go out there again and clean away the detritus and start anew. We are almost there, another month will see the end of the shadow’s reign. I like the picture of you that appears in my mind, vigorously waving about your sprayer through the open window and bathing your tomato with water. I will bear in mind what you say about the gentle touch [something life seems to be requiring of me at the moment] and shall practise on my vaguely clever phone. xo

  10. Hahaha love this. πŸ˜ƒ M has huge hands and calls it ‘fat finger’ syndrome. He frequently sends indecipherable texts then says ‘sorry, I fat-fingered it’. 😊

    • I love that “I fat-fingered it.” Even those of us who don’t have huge hands are suddenly amazed how fat our fingers are, when we try to maneuver those little keys on the cell phone. As I mentioned to Pauline, it might have something to do with learning how to kind of hover, as if our fingers are the tips of angel wings over the keys. Thanks for a good chuckle, Bianca. πŸ™‚

  11. Oh Cynthia, this poem is so funny. I think that typing with the index finger is quite sexy πŸ™‚ I always wonder – why I never have any problems with computer, but my mobile is a terra incognita I don’t even want to explore. Calls and texts, it is all I want from my smartphone.

  12. O fee, fie fo fum
    Cynthia you write better than an Englishman
    Some alive and some dead
    You enjoy your butter with some bread

    Cynthia dear, you made me LOL! This is a GR8 poem.
    No, seriously, loved it! And the butter alluded to here is your “Ode to a condiment”

    • You are becoming quite the versifier, Shubha! This is so enjoyable. I didn’t realize you had read “Ode to a condiment.” I am always honored to know that someone has been reading the archives, and very glad I made you laugh with this weeks contribution. Thank you very much!

    • Thanks Cynthia, would it please you to know that I am quite good at using my thumbs when texting ( rather Whatsapping!!!). With some members of family and heaps of friends overseas, I am very grateful for the use of Whatsapp and it comes at no cost!!

      • I suspect that I suspected you were a proficient thumb texter, Shubha. I think that most people, whatever their age, who do a lot of texting, have come to use their thumbs.

        I don’t do much texting—hardly any at all, as a matter of fact. I have resisted the temptation to fill my time with too much of our current technological “noise.” Facebook owns WhatsApp, and I have steered clear of Facebook. WordPress is my only vice, and lately I have been questioning whether or not to continue even this, as there is so much junk involved.

        It’s a conundrum, because along with all the junk, I have met some wonderful new friends, like you!

          • Thank you so much, Shubha. I do intend to keep the blog for now; It’s my only way of publishing my poetry, and communicating with some of the understanding, appreciative readers who comment so beautifully, and whom I have come to love.

  13. Nailed it! (To use a teen expression.) The true divider between “old” and “young” is currently the digit one uses to type on their phone! Oh!, you are TOO funny and also very apt! Sadly, I too have failed to master thumb tacking, even though the teens have tried to teach me. I fear my wee little thumb just wasn’t built for that type of sport. HaHaHaHaHaHa! I can’t wait to read your poem to my son when he gets home from school. ❀ ❀ ❀ πŸ˜€

    • I think you’re right about the true divider between older and younger currently, and typing on the phone is a major piece of it. I’m glad you enjoyed the humor in this little poem, and hope your son didn’t groan too much when you read it to him! πŸ™‚

      • He enjoyed as I knew he would. He is quite dapper with bit of prose himself.
        He said “BUT Muuum.What do you think we have opposable thumbs for? His tongue was firmly in his cheek.

        • Whoever was in charge of creation and evolution must have planned those opposable thumbs for us because they knew we would be needing them for our smart phones! πŸ™‚ Sounds like your son has a lovely sense of humor, Sharon.

  14. Thanks for the chuckle. We are all technology immigrants above a certain age, only those in their twenties are truly native, so it will always be our second language. Never mind, we have other skills. We can remember phone numbers and addresses in our heads – fancy that!

    • Oh yes, Hilary, and it”s good to learn a second language…as many oldies like me are willing to do…up to a point….but not so far as infidelity to the native tongue. A friend of mine’s mother, who is in her mid nineties, is a whiz at remembering all kinds of addresses and phone numbers. I have my own secret mnemonic devices for remembering, though I’m willing to concede that between passwords and a multiplicity of important numbers, it gets worser and worser to remember, all the time. When I was growing up, our family phone number was 26W.

  15. I hear ya, Cynthia! Made me laugh, and also salute your cleverness. (Besides typing one fingered on my phone I’m also one of those who can’t be creative on the computer. All poetry is written with pen in hand on old fashioned paper. πŸ™‚ )

    • I don’t create on the computer, either. All of my poems start with pen on paper and develop that way. I have always regarded the hand-written drafts as spontaneous, private, and in an organic, not final state. Afterward, the typed versions seem more public, in some way, even if I continue to edit them. I do like the computer for editing, but not for creative writing. Perhaps it’s old fashioned, but all handcraft is old fashioned, isn’t it? πŸ™‚ Thanks for your lovely comment and I’m glad this ditty made you laugh!

      • I completely agree. There’s everything to be said for the body/mind process of creativity. The muse takes its leave otherwise. I still have the same clipboard I used in high school and use the same kind of notebook paper. Decades of poetry and journal entries were written on it. If my clipboard could talk…! πŸ™‚

        • Yes! And there’s even some magic to having just your favorite kind of pen and paper too—I have one kind of notebook for journal writing and another for poems….it’s almost superstitious. I like your comment about the body-mind connection. To write with a pen is just that…un-mediated from thought to hand. So much of life is mediated now….always some “machine” or middleman between oneself and the thing to be seen or heard, touched, thought about, or made. Sounds like you have a magic clipboard, indeed! πŸ™‚

  16. Cant make out if it is intended, but “Thumb Thing” also sounds a lot like Something. It is quite something that these people seem to be using their thumbs to the exclusion of everything else.

    • “Thumb Thing” sounds like “Something” pronounced with a —perhaps childish— lisp. Actually, it wasn’t intended at the start; it was a happy accident! I like your observation: the thumbs taking precedence over the brain, perhaps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s