About ten years ago we stopped speaking in sentences with real words. It seems like every verbal interaction I have has some kind of weird acronymically speechified meaning.
It started slow when I was a kid in the 50s. Just a few of those things started creeping into our communication. It was cute at first– easy, lazy, and smart.
At first it was mostly correct sentences like my father might have commented in 1949, “Hey, did you see the National Broadcasting Company televising the news about the new National Aeronautics and Space Administration”?
When I was in the 7th grade, my buddy Vince and I decided to get our HAM operator’s license. I think we were the two youngest people to ever achieve that at 11 years old. At least in the same city.
Unfortunately the word “Nerd” was not an acronym, just a put-down. We learned we needed to type out “CQ, CQ, CQ” on our keyboards to reach other HAMS. CQ was weird. It really meant “Seek You.” You know, like please answer back to my high-pitched tones.
It’s very possible that Vince and I were using the popular acronym “HAM” that wasn’t really an acronym, but a slur. In fact there has never been a true acronym meaning “HAM.” The word started from telegraph operators who didn’t like amateurs messing up the airwaves with “ham-fisted skills.” Thus we became HAMS.
But, later in the ’50s, the acronyms started flowing in our daily communication.
I remember one of my early bosses told me he needed a report ASAP. I soon found out that meaning. Then more complicated things we would never try to pronounce became easier shortcuts. I mean, really, would you ever tell your friends you were taking lessons on a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus? Much easier to say, “I’m taking SCUBA lessons.”
Some of the acronym’s we all use every day are unknown meanings. I doubt if anyone knows what the “JPEGS” we send across our screens actually mean. (Joint Photographic Experts Group). We would never say that or type it out. The acronym has taken the place of the real meaning…just like ASAP.
All sports are now acronyms. All acronyms are now our communication techniques.
I still see and hear acronyms I have no idea what they mean. It’s a product of my old age I know.
A few weeks ago I heard another brand new acronym from my doctor. As I thought about it, wondering what the meaning was, it came to me and caused a wide grin. I figured it out.
FINALLY, I have what every old fart I know wishes for. And I finally got it.
The doctor said, “You have GBM.”
Yes! What old fart doesn’t want “Great Bowel Movements?”