The Star Late Edition

Cyberspace lingo creates brave new types


INFORMAL internet users are settling out into distinct types: They love exclamatio­n marks and red capital letters and warn you about all sorts of highly unlikely or even fabricated crimes such as filling stations giving away elaborate key rings – but BE WARNED!!!!! The keys have a built-in device so crooks can find where you live and nick your car.

A recent one warned that there are men who sidle up to women in the street and invite them to take a sniff of a new perfume.

But it’s not perfume! It’s ETHER!!!! One sniff and you fall unconsciou­s!!! WARN ALL YOUR FRIENDS!!!

Another warned women about two-way mirrors in hotels and changing rooms that enable men on the other side to watch them.

“You must ALWAYS place a finger nail against the mirror and if there’s a gap between your nail and its image then it’s OK. If there’s NO GAP you are being VISUALLY RAPED!!!!! Send this to everybody you know!!!!”

These are mostly female. They send soppy, sentimenta­l stuff illustrate­d with mobile emoticons like bigeyed kittens, bouncy puppies and fluttering fairies and beseech you to forward their stories to all your friends.

Their syrupy stories usually involve a crippled child, God or American patriotism. After reading them you feel as if you have just eaten 16 jam doughnuts.

This group has an affinity with Cyberfrant­ics. They emblazon their messages with lots of capital letters in vivid colours and exclamatio­n marks (or “screamers” as we in the trade call exclamatio­n marks).

Cyberscrea­mers, in the pre-computer era, paraded in town with placards reading THE END IS NIGH.

Nowadays they send out dire warnings about some deadly new computer virus that will fuse your motherboar­d, turn all your hotplates on full, erase all CDS within 10m and demagnetis­e your credit cards, and mix up all your socks.

They send you long screeds on how asparagus, or beetroot or pawpaws cure cancer and how doctors are suppressin­g the facts to protect their livelihood­s.

They e-mail funny stories. I like cyberclown­s. How do you think I fill this column?

A typical example from a reader named Don: a Chinese man walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder.

The barman asks: “Where’d you get that?” The parrot says: “In China there are MILLIONS of them!”

Female cybergende­rbashers send stuff denigratin­g men. The male equivalent sends stuff denigratin­g women. To date the score is about even, I’d say.

These send you IQ tests and puzzles that make you feel like something that needs watering twice a week.

This group sends attachment­s usually involving a 10-second video film of their latest offspring sitting on a potty.

The video takes 20 minutes to download. Or it’s a pal who sends you a picture of a naked blonde with a cheeky caption which pops up on your screen just as your wife, or boss (but I repeat myself) walks in and says: “So THAT’S what you do at this machine all the time!”

These take the mickey out of all the others. Cybermick Ian Mclaren last week took the mickey out of cybermenta­lists. He wrote:

A little girl entered a pet shop and asked: “Excuthe me, mithter, do you keep widdle wabbits?”

The shopkeeper asked softly: “Do you want a widdle white wabby or a thoft and fuwwy bwack wabby or maybe one like that cute widdle bwown wabby over there?”

The little girl said: “I don’t fink my pyfon gives a **** what colour it is.”

Contact Stoep Talk: Fax: 011-465-4564 Write to: Box 876 Lonehill, 2062 e-mail:, BLOG:

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