Drowning in a Sea of Alphabet Soup
FYI, tried and true acronyms and abbreviations have been with us for decades. In fact, the word “tips” is actually an acronym for ‘“To Insure Prompt Service.” But let me just say, folks, what with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook — uh, FB — we are starting our own code that soon most of us will be unable to decipher. We created a new language I call Acronese (my new made up word). Cryptographers take note ASAP. You’ve suddenly acquired job security.
ICYMI (in case you missed it), this all got started when we were assigned a measly 140 characters on Twitter, then reinforced by the higher cost associated with word overage in texting. What’s a cyber addict to do? Compress, abbreviate, “acronate.” (Yeah, I did it again).
BTW (by the way), pharmaceutical companies are probably the biggest (ab)users of acronyms and abbreviations. Well, I get it. Some of the diseases and drugs have names longer than infinity and as unpronounceable as Harry Potter characters. So shortening solves that: “Do you have IBD (intestinal bowel disease)?” Well, take Ad (Humira) or Az (Azathioprine), or maybe Ci (Ciprofloxacin) for infections.
I now find myself referring to the urban dictionary for all these acronyms. Be warned, however, some are quite edgy and should be “X” rated. X, for cross off your list. I love the written word. But we have made extinct those gracious letters and thank you notes to and from friends and family. Okay, so we get them by email or in a text…but is it so manually exhausting to click out “Thank You’” instead of TY? Or “love” instead of L? Oh, and if that’s still too tiring for some, they reply with an emoji. O RLY? Recently, I sent a gift; my reply was a big, whoop-dee-do “TYVM.”
Worried about carpal tunnel, are we? Or a major heart attack from the effort? Perhaps they can’t spell? Don’t have enough time due to the gazillion friends still awaiting a reply? Lazy? Or just want to sound boujee (look it up)?
IMHO (in my humble opinion), many have FOMO (fear of missing out). Soon Acronese will permeate all our speech, writings and reading. We’ll need a decoder manual or Dick Tracy’s ring (for those who remember). John Steinbeck must be rolling over right about now as a prolific writer known for sentences so lengthy they sometimes took an entire page. But every one of them projected a vision or an otherwise indescribable depth into a character or event. Imagine Grapes of Wrath (464 pages) or East of Eden (608 pages) written in Acronese!
Be careful when you use Acronese. I’ve heard that when the acronym LOL was first used, a few people got into trouble thinking it stood for “lots of love” instead of “laugh out loud.” As in a woman texting her family members: “Aunt Judy passed away peacefully in her sleep last night. LOL.” Her tech savvy son had to educate her.
Progress can’t be stopped, so they say. And I am in favor of staying abreast of the fast-paced technological changes, lest we be in quicksand in the Atlantic. But geez, take a breath…
This quote from Grapes of Wrath says it all: “…Fella gets use’ to a way of thinkin’ it’s hard to leave.” (BTW, the same can be said about writing.)
If you’re finding U2 are drowning in alphabet soup, you can always send me a DM. TTYL, guys!
About the columnist: LJ Bury is a resident of Copperleaf at The Brooks with a diverse background including stints as creator/editor of a fine arts magazine, a political blogger and a talent coordinator. LJ’s Corner tells the stories of everyday life, with all its joys, frustrations and ponders.
PONDER TO BLOW YOUR MIND
If you try to fail but succeed, which one did you do?