Monday, January 18, 2010

OMG...the Acronyms!

Most Americans do not feel like they have enough time to do everything that they have committed to, have volunteered for, and must do to survive most days. We have been taught to say "no" more often yet have been encouraged to volunteer our time. We have been given more opportunities to pursue interests on a scale unknown to past generations and we have golf weekends, girls' weekends, season tickets, and trips that we enjoy. Where we once worked ourselves into a coma and enjoyed our two week concurrent vacations each year, we now enjoy twice as much time off and considerable understanding (compared to our parents and grandparents)from bosses when we need to attend something at the school or a game at the ballfield.

In fact, we are actually the minority if we do not have several outside interests that consume our free time. These interests are as varied as we are. So, like a little Pacman...these interests eat into our free time and energy. Our closets and garages become filled with the ghosts of interests past and our clothes are slung over the treadmill in the corner of our bedroom. It is almost like we have to keep trying to be fulfilled and still fit in all that we have to do.

In a crazy quest for efficiency, we have found it far easier to use certain acronyms to communicate. It used to be substituting "bye" for "goodbye" or "thanks" for "thank you." Now it is "TY" for "thank you" and "BRB" for "be right back." I don't know if this is a good development or not!

I didn't really notice this at first because I work in the land of acronyms as a banker. The only group that is more efficient at the use of acronyms is the military. In banking, we've abbreviated everything for the nearly 25 years I've been employed in the industry. Words like "individual retirement account" became "IRA" and "certificate of deposit" became "CD." I've known FSRs (Financial Service Representatives), RMs (Relationship Managers) and CSRs (Customer Service Representatives). Funny, but I've found that about the time we stopped saying the word "service" in those titles was about the same time we pretty much quit offering it.

Saying "H1N1" instead of "swine flu" tended to make us less paranoid of pork and it sounded far more official. Using the term "WMD" instead of "weapons of mass destruction" was definitely shorter...but it began to sound more palatable as well. The medical industry has gone wild of late with its acronyms...and has given us a whole host of ads that drive those points home. I'll admit that I'd gladly give up my daily reminder of "ED", "PMS", or "ADD".

Over the past several years, the use of instant messaging shortened several phrases such as "LOL" (laughing out loud), "ROFL" (rolling on the floor laughing), "OMG" (oh my gosh [my choice]) or "TTYL" (talk to you later). These translate beautifully to text messaging...the primary mode of communication with my teenaged children...until I asked Jill a question in a recent (rare) telephone call and she said "IDK."

"IDK" (I don't know) pretty much was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for me. It's cute the way that she says it, but I figured that before long, we will be down to a series of random letters or grunts to communicate. Great. Just in time for my close vision and hearing to be starting to go.

I figure that she will eventually just text me the following: "HMDBM? I have to go to TGT. I'll BRB2U...TTYL!" Yeah. Lucky me. (Interpretation: Has my deposit been made? I have to go to Target. I'll be right back to to you later!)

Who wants to give up hearing "I love you" or "you are special to me"? I don't. Getting "ILY" just isn't the same, is it? So, I'll be more cognizant of the shortcuts that I'm making and I'll be sure to not miss opportunities to say the words instead of abbreviating them. Well, maybe I'll let the "ED" people keep that one...

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