I excelled at acronyms in school. During a creative writing workshop, organised by my school in 4th grade, one of the activities was imagining the full form of acronyms. I was the unbeaten champion in the exercise, coming up with ingenious versions. My penchant for the long and winding has, over the years, led to me developing an aversion for the overly abbreviated. Friends will tell you that I’m almost never brief. My blogposts, till very recently, tended to be long and meandering. And I abhor using even the most accepted forms of abbreviations in my communication with others, be it informal or professional.
This extreme aversion to abbreviations wasn’t always there. It all started with the now ubiquitous PFA. When I first started working in the non-academic world of IT and startups, I was constantly flummoxed by the emails I received and the words used in the chat rooms. IMO, FYI, OOO, EOM….no really, WTF? (Yes, I do use that to avoid being overtly offensive, though once again, I do prefer writing Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.)
I did eventually get used to them, and have been guilty of using some of them…though never the highly offensive PFA. It just peeves me no end to receive an email with an attachment and nothing else but a PFA. Really, are you so busy, you can’t even take 60 seconds to add a simple greeting and another sentence that acknowledges me as your human correspondant worthy of more than what seems like a nasty bark?
But all these are accepted abbreviations that I couldn’t ignore forever. And so I accepted and learnt to stop reacting to them. The extension of this to other realms of interaction is what truly gets my goat though. Especially when it creeps from the world of texting to F2F (argh) conversations. It’s bad enough that I have to deal with all those words without vowels, or strangely replaced vowels. U knw, I rlly lykd d gllry yst. How do their smartphones even let them write that? Mine seems to get just as offended as me, and frantically corrects it to the closest real word. Why, oh why, train devices to accept non-words as words? But we we were talking about real conversations. The ones where you’re actually talking to the other person. Not texting, just talking.
Just last week, a friend spoke of visiting ROM in Toronto.
-You know, the Royal Ontario Museum.
-Uh? You could have just said museum, right? Being the biggest and most important museum of the city, I’d have reached the natural conclusion that you went there. You don’t refer to the Eiffel Tower as ET, do you? (And don’t tell me you already do!) So why call it something as inane as ROM, which only makes me think of Rom-Com films, featuring Jennifer Anniston?
Which brings to me the next one that makes me cringe every single time. OMG. It’s an expression of surprise, horror, disgust…all best expressed with a few more syllables.
Doesn’t Oh my God, phonetically stretched out, with all the required nuances of intonation (think Janice) express those feelings so much more than just OMG?
No really, WTF?