This is a pretty historic week. I’m not talking about the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Friday, no, I mean historic. Like really important, you guys. Today in 1992, the first text message was sent. And we have been shortening the English language ever since.
It’s pretty amazing that Short Messaging Service, or SMS, as we know it today, has been around so long. Let’s keep in mind that in 1992, car phones were about as common as cell phones. And cell phones themselves were pretty much the Zack Morris ones we think of today, should strap and all.
So what was the first ever text message?
On Dec. 3, 1992, Neil Papworth, a British engineer, sent the first text via his friend’s handset. He sent: “Merry Christmas.” There are so many questions left on this one, it makes me think it was all a hoax. Why did he say “Merry”? The Brits say, “Happy Christmas,” just to be annoying to the New World. There’s no good reason that a self-respecting Englishman would send use “merry.” Also, it’s clear that there was no calendar nearby when this message was sent, because there were still 22 days until Christmas. And of course, why didn’t Papworth’s friend send the first text message ever sent in the history of humanity? I mean, it was his phone, he had the opportunity to send a text message at any time, he was probably just waiting for someone else to get an SMS-capable phone, which must have been what it felt like to have the first telegraph.
It is widely believed that years later Papworth would make history two more times, when he sent the first picture message from the same friend’s cell phone in 2002. He sent a picture of his friend’s penis to his wife, thereby also sending the first sext.
Why is it that mankind sucks at making the first messages anything memorable. Except for Neil Armstrong, everyone given by fate the chance to say something historic in a way or from somewhere that never had never been done before has dropped the ball.
In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell created the telephone, and to test it, he decided to call his assistant, Thomas Watson, who was in another room. He called him, presumably the phone number was 1, and said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” And the telephone has served as a magnificent tool to keep us from yelling down the hallway ever since.
A year later, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, which is why today he is considered the godfather of hip hop. For the first time, the human voice–or anything, really–was to be recorded and then replayed. Edison chose to mark the occasion by reciting a couple lines from “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The recording was later released as an album with other such tracks under “Thomas Edison Creepily Reads Nursery Rhymes.”
We need these blunders to stop. Everyone, needs to think of an important, yet brief thing to say should they at some point, because you never know when history will demand to hear from you.