ABRIDGED TOO FAR

We have so much to say and life is so short. Therefore we invented abbrs, initials, contractions, symbols, acronyms, icons, memes, etc. It’s ok w/me & my PC. It saves us hrs/yr, paper & ink. When I want to finish a blog ASAP (this one, e.g.), I go into my PDQ mode. However, I think we’re overdoing it, i.e., a texter wd hv shortened this para. by 50%.

Old-fashioned abbrs are more decipherable than today’s texting codes. A neophyte could receive salacious msgs w/o realizing it. LOL (laughing out loud) is cute, but wouldn’t “HaHa” also work? And ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing) is overkill. Try “LOL x 2”.

I think texters want to seal us off like our parents did when they discussed neighborhood scandals at the dinner table, spelling out their gossip not realizing how far we’d advanced in school. “Mom, there’s no ‘S’ in divorce,” we’d say, or “Dad, there are two ‘C’s’ in alcoholic, they’re not ‘K’s “.

If necessity is the father of invention, laziness must be the mother. A weary monument maker in ancient Rome, tired of chiseling “Senatus Populusque Romanus” (The Senate and People of Rome) shortened it to SPQR one day to get home to dinner on time. Two milleniums later the initials are still part of the city’s official emblem.

Perhaps a medieval Irish monk, after hours of tedious transcribing decided “Anno Domini” (The year of Our Lord) should become A.D. which, with B.C. (Before Christ), is sometimes replaced now with C.E. (Common Era). Where are we headed? Heaven knows.

We’ll never return to the long versions. Imagine telling someone you’ll meet them at nine of the clock ante meridiem, or have a cop say he caught you speeding with his radio detecting and ranging apparatus. Radar is an acronym, a string of initials that became a word, like NATO, NASA, laser and UNICEF. Korean War G.I.’s had one called FIGMO, but that’s all I have to say about that.

A standard greeting, “How are you?” has morphed to “Hiya” and then “Hi” while the common salutation “Hello” has been cut to “Lo”. So two friends meeting will say “Hi” and “Lo”.

ESL students must wonder why “oz” and “lb” stand for ounce and pound. “Teacher, does that mean Judy Garland starred in ‘The Wizard of Ounce’ and was President Johnson’s first name Pound?”

The letters SOB stand for “Senate Office Building” and dozens of other phrases, one of which is indelicate. When writing to a member of the Upper House you could therefore address the envelope: U.S. Senator (name) SOB, Wash. D.C. But don’t mention this blog.

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