I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find the accelerated use of acronyms and initials a bit confusing.
Of course, their use has always been around. There is ABC, CBS, NBC, and NPR. Later came CNN, MSNBC and FOX. In sports we have the NFL, MLB, the NBA and the WNBA. Within the NFL we have the NFC and the AFC. Now the XFL is back. There once was an AFL, not to be confused with the AFL-CIO. In world soccer we have FIFA, not to be mistaken for FICA. Those acronyms can get confusing really fast.
Legend has it that many years ago, on a brutally hot summer day, an unusually big man showed up at D.T McCall’s & Sons store in Carthage. It was back in the day when my grandfather and 3 of my uncles made up the entire sales force. Eyes were always on the parking lot. They would literally meet customers at the door.
As the potential customer stepped away from his pick-up truck, one of my uncles spotted him, and headed for the store’s entrance. Opening the door, the big man paused for a moment to mop sweat from his forehead with a red bandana; his huge physique filling up the frame of the door.
“Can I hep ye?” was my uncle’s opening line.
In a desperate voice, the ole boy wailed out, “Mr. McCall, I need ah air conditioner!”
My uncle went right into his sales pitch.
“How big is your house?” he asked.
The ol’ boy gave him a confused look, as he blurted out, “I can’t see that’s got a thang to do with it!”
“Oh, it’s got everything to do with it!” countered the salesman. “We have to calculate how many BTUs you will need.
“If you have a small house you might get by with a single window unit, say, 6000 -7000 BTUs. If you have a long, ranch-type house, you might need two window units, say 20,000-25,000 BTUs. If you have a real big house with an upstairs, you may need central heat and air. I don’t know, maybe, 40,000 -50,000 BTUs.”
Then came the closing question, “How many BTUs do you think you will need?”
The ol’ boy let out a deep sigh as he confessed, “Mr. McCall, I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout them BTUs, but I can tell you one thang. I need ah air conditioner big enough to cool a B-U-T big as a T-U-B!”
Well, there you have it. Those acronyms can be downright confusing.
I have worked with the healthcare folks for a number of years where you have CMOs, CNOs, DONs, LPNs, RNs, CRNAs, PTs, APTs, RTs, and CNAs, to name only a few.
My doctor is constantly monitoring my BP, PSA, EKG, LDL, and HDL so I don’t D-I-E.
Of course, the bankers are always concerned with ROE and ROA while being careful to disclose APR and APY; all the while hoping you will open a new MMA or DDA. And, too, they would prefer you purchase a CD (not to be confused with a compact disc).
Inside corporate America the COO and CFO collaborate with their CPA before they report to the CEO after checking with HR, the CIO and the DA, while keeping a close eye on the IRS, the FBI, and the DOJ, so they all don’t end up in the P-E-N.
Most colleges and universities offer a BS, BA, MA, MS, MBA, Ph.D. and M.ED. ED was once an abbreviation for education. Not anymore. The testosterone and male enhancement supplement advertisers push ED solutions ad nausea. Makes one long for a more innocent time when there was a talking horse named Mr. ED.
In sports, knee injuries result in a torn ACL, not to be confused with the ACLU.
Then we have BLTs, BVDs, DDSs, DVMs, DVRs, IRAs, UFOs, EMTs, the NRA, the NAACP, and AOC. The list goes on and on.
Now we have come to a time where most would rather text than talk. Even texters prefer to abbreviate.
If one receives a text of a humorous nature, one might reply, “lol,” which I suppose means “laugh out loud.” Of course, it could mean, “lots of luck” (my personal preference). Or it could mean, “love ‘em or leave ‘em.” Who’s to say?
Here’s one I see occasionally — IMHO. I think it means, “In my humble opinion.” Or it might mean, “I may hang out.” Or it could mean, I’M Hung Over!” You never can tell!
Here’s one of my least favorite — OMG. Depending on the character of the sender, it could mean “Oh, my God!”, “Oh, my goodness!”, or “Oh, my gosh!”
Speaking of OMG, I’ve run out of time and space.
(See you later alligator.)
Hartsville resident Jack McCall is a writer, humorist and motivational speaker.