Dear Darwin column: Texting vs. talking: phone-a-phobia on the rise |

Dear Darwin column: Texting vs. talking: phone-a-phobia on the rise

Robert Valko
VAIL CO, Colorado

It took 3.6 billion years for us to evolve from single-celled, free-wheeling, double-gonzo protozoa to a species that could text and fax and hold office parties – events where company owners and secretaries could guzzle mint juleps and fax images of their big toes and elbows to China. This was a really important step in office-worker evolution, as it afforded salesmen and secretaries the chance to party while they marketed their wares in foreign markets. Getting back to Orville Jockenbacker and his secretary …

Actually, when it comes to texting versus talking, our species seems to be mutating into Homo mute enses. On the morning of July 1, when Justin Timber-bieber awoke and texted his request for Fluffy-Puffy-Peanut-Munch-ums to his mom, from bed, for breakfast, he was scolded. When she demanded that he come downstairs and speak his request for food, he grew faint and experienced a petite-mal seizure. It appears the act of actually speaking in person was so daunting that he experienced a panic attack. Upon arriving at his house, paramedics strapped him to a gurney and rushed him to the ER. Once in the hospital, he was diagnosed with a virulent strain of phone-a-phobia.

PAP, for short, is a spreading like wildfire among the species Homo-iphone. The CDC has called for the quarantine of all persons suffering from the debilitating disorder, concerned that it will spread to all humans. Yes, due to texting, it appears that Homo sapiens – once known as Homo-yap-a-lot – are well on the way to becoming Homo-tap-a-lot.

Actually, the opening of this story was inspired by a story that appeared on Yahoo Finance: “Anna Schiferl hadn’t even rolled out of bed when she reached for her cell phone and typed a text to her mom, one recent Saturday. Mom was right downstairs in the kitchen. The text? Anna wanted cinnamon rolls for breakfast.”

Our addiction to screens – TVs, computer monitors, and the 2-inch-by-3-inch windows on our phones that feature the advanced chicken-scratch/texts that we call language – is resulting in the devolution of our species in another way. Justin Timber-beiber was also diagnosed hunchback-nosia-of the Notre Dame order. Teens may soon be in traction due to perpetually craning their necks to read their ichicken-scratch devices.

If it took our ancestors several million years to go from foraging on all fours to shaking our groove-things on two feet (to go from Homo habilis to Homo wobble-iss, especially after knocking a few down at Vendetta’s) it’s taken us about 20 minutes to evolve from Homo erectus to Homo scoliosis. The solution? The National Federation of Physical Therapists has recommended neck braces for all, 24/7.

Eagle County resident Robert Valko is a graduate of Northwestern University. Email him with column topics at

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