I’m not sure if it’s really possible to be a fan of acronyms, but I’ve always had a bit of a weird fascination with abbreviations and shortenings. I had an odd moment of satisfaction when I discovered that the TVR sports car company reflected the name of its owner and founder, Trevor. Despite years of accidentally catching
advertscommercials for Bank Holiday sales at MFI, I had no idea until a few weeks ago that the abbreviation stood for Mullard Furniture Industries. And I’d love to meet Mr Block and Mr Quayle, whose orange-tastic stores that sell power tools and fertiliser still bear the B&Q name. Personally, I’m still recovering from the fact that no American would considering using the acronym DIY. Although not spending interminable weekends doing DIY is a concept that I’m much more able to understand.
But when it comes to shortening sentences and phrases into handy-to-text abbreviations, I adopt more of a zero tolerance approach. I’m tough on ridiculous acronyms, tough on the causes of ridiculous acronyms. I appreciate that it’s an attitude that makes me come across like an octogenarian whose cardigans smell of cat pee and Benson & Hedges, but I’ve just got no time for turning everyday phrases or sentences into tiny collections of nonsensical letters.
Until today, I thought it was just British youngsters that engaged in Wanton Acts Of Illicit Shortening. After all, no teen text is complete without a ROFL or TTFN. I’d rather have knives plunged into my intestines than see ‘4eva’, while ‘2moz’ makes me break out in hives. Or break into hives, and sit there until the succession of ever-more-deathly bee stings slowly take away the pain.
But then in a serious business meeting today, I had to remain resolutely unmoved when a visitor used the phrase “I know, I know! TMI, TMI!” It’s bad enough that anybody might decide that it’s appropriate to tell a story that involves ‘too much information’ when in a business setting, but do you really have to speak like you’re a ten year old with language issues? Next I’ll have people be so impressed by my gags that they’ll be LMAO (unlikely I appreciate), or saying TTFN as we say goodbye in the foyer.
The United States has come late to the SMS party, so there’s still hope that it can turn back from adopting this text language before it’s too late. After all, nobody wants the American language even more FUBAR’ed than it already is.