Stay nang; be safa

I’M going to make my fortune.

I’m going to run courses for old people. To qualify you’ll need to be of pensionable age and have not the faintest idea what ‘UR GR8’ means.

I’m going to call them Welcome to the 21st Century.

Or possibly Wake Up!

Or perhaps Don’t Die!

The idea came to me because I suddenly woke up to the knowledge that I have slipped behind. I am an anachronism; some strange and primitive life form from another planet.

And what makes it worse is that I was on my guard!

I have been aware of all the spotty children whose familiarity with computers would — in a different age — have got them burned at the stake. And I have worked hard to keep up. I can work a computer. I can surf the internet and send messages around the world in nanoseconds.

What I didn’t realise is that I was merely going through the process of dehumanisation that every not-yet-quite-old person goes through.

When I met my daughters’ friends I cried: “Yo!”

As a compliment to their taste I admired their music and their clothes by saying: “Filth!”

I thought I was cool, but even saying cool is not cool any more. Now it’s “safa”.

And if you want to compliment their taste, its “nang”.

(Don’t ask me why. I don’t know).

What I do know is that despite all my best efforts on the computer, I have been left behind.

I can use a mobile phone only to phone someone. I can’t leave messages, receive messages, put names in the address book or use the camera that comes with it. It follows that I can’t send text messages. Or, to be precise, txt messages. Which involves taking a butcher’s cleaver to the English language (UR GR8, incidentally, is ‘you are great’).

And I don’t have the right kind of thumb. Twenty-first century thumbs are pointy, and they can move over the controls of a mobile phone or a remote control like a sewing machine needle.

I can’t name one singer who was born in the past 20 years and I don’t even know the names of any modern music styles. I fell off the radar when rap was cool. Sorry… safa.

And it’s my own fault!

I should have kept up. Well… now I’m going to offer others like me the opportunity I never had.

Yoga for thumbs, to ensure your opposing digit is in shape for 2008.

The nu bk of txt msgs fr u & yr m8.

Taking the stress out of watching movies at home (which buttons to press, and when).

Take control: wield the remote – with confidence!

I’ll go down in history as the man who saved humankind (well, the over-60s bit of it, anyway), alongside Alexander Fleming and Louis Pasteur.

I should stress, however, that this has absolutely nothing to do with joining in. You will not turn your grandchildren into bosom buddies by telling them their music is nang, or that their clothes are safa, or by sending them txt messages about how GR8 they are. Even if you add a big grin (:D).

All you’ll do is frighten them.

The purpose in all this is to learn what the enemy is doing! Isn’t that the power of information – to understand what’s happening in the enemy’s head? Assuming you have the stomach to cope with it, that is.

Funny really… we try hard to understand Pacific Island culture and Aboriginal culture and Indonesian culture, and even Chinese and Japanese culture, which most us have never belonged to in our lives, yet we haven’t the faintest idea about the culture of youth, and we all used to belong to that.