By Fred Kusch —
“I may have grown up in the Age of Aquarius, but I’m growing old in the Age of the Acronym.”
― Roy Peter Clark
Acronyms seem to be the preferred foundation of all communication today. Whether it is POTUS, SCOTUS or the notorious RBG, our English language has been reduced to code. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it. I grew up at a time when language was revered. I learned to communicate directly, succinctly and intelligently. The use of acronyms is allegedly intended to “save time,” but I’ve never needed a glossary of acronyms to carry with me so I can look up and understand what people are talking about. As Stephen Colbert points out, “brb, ttyl ok? wow, i saved a ‘ton’ of time with those acronyms.” Right, today’s discourse seems to be nothing short of gobbledygook to me.
So, I have decided to provide you, the reader, particularly the senior citizen readers among you, with this relatable list of acronyms especially for us. I guess if you can no longer fight them, you might as well join them. If nothing else, this list can be a way of fighting back. I guarantee that 95 percent of those under 50 won’t know what you are talking about. It’s their turn to be frustrated! So here’s my contribution to the senior citizen acronym spiel.
- LMDO – Laughing my denture out
- BFF – Best friend fell down
- BTW – Bring the wheelchair
- BYOT – Bring your own teeth
- TTML – Talk to me louder
- ROFLACGU – Rolling on the floor laughing and I can’t get up
- GHA – Got heartburn again
- FWIA – I forgot where I am
- GGPBL – Gotta go my pacemaker battery is low
I have more but I am sure you get the idea.
Why we don’t simply talk to one another in plain English just baffles me. The following quotes bolster my point. See what you think.
“These reports that are not explained by natural phenomena or exploding outhouses are known as UFO’s, which is the official abbreviation for Unidentified Flying Objects. I suppose it could also stand for Uncommonly Fat Orangutans, but in this case it does not.” ― Cuthbert Soup, “Another Whole Nother Story”
Or this one that speaks to saving time in the world of work: “In the Olympics, they all talk in acronyms all the time. You spend most of the meeting trying to work out what the acronym meant. By the time you’ve done that it’s time for the
next meeting.” — Danny Boyle, director and producer, known for “Slumdog Millionaire,” who served as artistic director for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games
And finally my favorite: “Probably one of those sinister organisations that lurked behind the mask of amusing acronym, such as BUM, for example—the Bermondsey Union of Minstrels. Or WILLY, the Whitechapel Institution for Long-Legged Yodellers. It could be any one of a hundred such evil cabals. With the notable exception of the Meritorious Union For Friendship, Decency, Individualism, Virtue and Educational Resources, who were above reproach.” ― Robert Rankin, “The Educated Ape and Other Wonders of the Worlds”
There you have it, my rant on Acronym Speak. May you enjoy all the time you save using the approach to today’s discourse.
Fred Kusch, president and CEO of JFK Associates, is a well-known speaker, author, consultant and business coach. For more information, visit www.jfkassociates.com.