The VICE Channels

    Trying to Make Friends Over Blind Text Messages

    Written by

    Ben Johnson

    (From vice.com) In what I’m sure is a stupid move, I agreed to join this service. The idea of it is they set you up with a text-message pen pal, but really they probably just want to sell your cell phone number to whoever wants it. So I’m looking forward to getting text messages directly from Papa John’s for the rest of my life. My editor at VICE suggested it because she thought it would be funny. I agreed to do it because I am stupid.

    Here’s a transcript:

    9177467856:[Welcome to TxtPals!]


    /?  this  menu

    /nick  change your name

    /list  who’s here?

    /me  status

    /shhh  skip today

    /leave  bye!]

    12:13pm Friday

    9177467856: [We just found you a TxtPal!]

    12:13pm Friday

    Me:Yo where you at?

    12:16pm Friday


    12:18pm Friday

    9177467856: [You: Pal35, Pal: Dan]

    12:28pm Friday


    12:39pm Friday

    9177467856: Dan: I’m here to!!!

    12:40pm Friday

    9177467856:Dan: Yo!! Where you at PAL35????

    12:40pm Friday


    12:43pm Friday

    9177467856: Dan: Hahahahaha

    1:01pm Friday

    Me:U A DUDE?

    1:02pm Friday

    9177467856:Dan: YEAH

    1:02pm Friday

    9177467856: Dan: YOU ALWAYS TYPE IN CAPS?

    1:03pm Friday


    1:05pm Friday

    Me: yo dan i cant figure da shit ut u cool but where the ladies at u know? cant fugure the shit out

    1:24pm Friday

    9177467856: Dan: Yeah! You gotta hope that the service assigns you to a nice lady next time instead of a dude. It’s just random. Ya know? Doesn’t know if you’re a dude or

    2:07pm Friday

    9177467856: Dan: a chick.

    2:07pm Friday

    9177467856:[ Dan is now: spooky]

    11:46am Saturday

    9177467856: [spooky is now: sharky]

    11:46am Saturday

    9177467856:[ Pal switch! You have a new Pal. Say Hi!]

    11:46am Saturday

    Me:I get lonely.

    2:10am Sunday

    Me: Lonely in my bones.

    2:12am Sunday

    Me: Deep and impenetrable loneliness.

    2:13am Sunday

    Me: But not a despairing loneliness.

    2:14am Sunday

    Me:I find its depth and breadth a comfort, like a long walk home from a dead end neighborhood.

    2:15am Sunday

    Me:I am eating pancakes. Alone.

    2:16am Sunday

    Me: Hello?

    2:16am Sunday

    Me: Are you there?

    2:16am Sunday

    Me: I am eating pancakes.

    2:17am Sunday

    Me: Are you sleeping? I need a friend. I’m down in the dumps.

    2:19am Sunday


    8:33am Sunday

    Me: I ate blood.

    10:55am Sunday

    9177467856:[ Pal switch! You have a new Pal. Say Hi!]

    11:12am Sunday

    Me: Listen, do you know anything about snakes? Poisonous snakes?

    11:14am Sunday

    9177467856: Pal41: Just not to get near them. Or touch them really.

    11:14am Sunday

    Me: Uh oh.

    11:15am Sunday

    9177467856: Pal41: What happened? You should try to suck the venom out. But don’t swallow it.

    11:16am Sunday

    Me: Oh jeez.

    11:17am Sunday

    9177467856: Pal41: Well? We live?!

    11:33am Sunday

    Me: I’m not good.

    12:17am Sunday

    9177467856: Pal41: Do you need me to call your mom

    1:11pm Sunday

    Me: Don’t be vulgar.

    1:13pm Sunday

    Me: hey where do people buy road flares or a flare gun for boats

    10:44pm Sunday

    Me: quick

    10:44pm Sunday

    Me: hey quick

    10:45pm Sunday

    9177467856:[ Pal switch! You have a new Pal: tacotruck. Say Hi!]

    9:07am Monday

    Me: Sometimes I worry that I never learned how to love another person.

    9:13am Monday

    9177467856: tacotruck: Not even your mother?

    9:24am Monday

    Me:What is it with you people and mothers?

    9:25am Monday

    9177467856: tacotruck: Seems the most likely place to start. Does anyone love you?

    9:39am Monday

    Me: [New Pal: not tacotruck]

    9:46am Monday

    Me:/change to not tacotruck

    9:47am Monday


    9:51am Monday


    9:58am Monday

    Verdict: although I guess fucking with strangers via text message is a decent way to waste time, and it’s nice to get the extra added bonus of picturing their phone buzzing on the nightstand when you text “R U HORNY” at 4:00 AM, there’s the internet now. The whole world is wired specifically to fuck with strangers.

    Also, although I like to think I’m decently funny, there’s just no way for me to top [spooky is now: sharky]. Wherever and whoever you are, Dan, you did it. You topped me. I want you back.