News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 19, 2013

RONN MOTT: Heaven for initials

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — It should not come as any big surprise that we’re surrounded by initials by the gross load. Teenagers, especially teenagers, are manufacturing initial acronyms for word combinations by the thousands every week. It’s amusing and fun for their circle of friends to write in code so that only a handful will understand and know what is being written. It has gotten so complicated even booklets have been printed so you can keep up with BFF and all the rest.

As for me, I don’t text. I go to lunch with friends, I talk to them on the phone, I see them at work, and that’s how I keep up. I do not need to communicate at the speed of light. Now, don’t get me wrong … when it’s important I certainly use today’s technology. I guess you could say I am texting the newspaper every week for these articles to find their place on the Trib-Star’s web pages and in Saturday’s printed edition.

Most of my ability to read initials and understand what they stood for came from my days in the military … TDY, SNAFU and other initials I have long forgotten were used on a daily basis so you could read your orders and pieces of other information that crossed the desk where I sat.

This rather cryptic slicing up of the English language has led to many problems. Among them, young people and old people texting while driving and, of course, that leads to accidents. Sometimes terrible accidents, sometimes even death. What could be so important, my BFF, that you would text and then die for it? I can assure you not very much, not very much at all.

I remember going through the chow hall early in my days in the USAF and hearing someone say, “Oh my God, it’s SOS, I’ll never eat today!” SOS was “s--- on a shingle,” which was the military’s take off on chipped beef on toast. Only where I ran into it, it was ground beef and something that passed for gravy on toast. And since I had never had chipped beef on toast I found the Air Force’s version of SOS a decent way to start the morning meal. I still buy chipped beef and gravy to put on toast, packaged and frozen. Even a bad cook as myself can handle it.

I suppose we could write an entire article using initials available to us, but to those of you who are living in this abbreviated world of an already rather confusing language, I’ll just say, “sorry,” and spell it out. (LOL)

And I will close by saying, “TFRTA.” RJM.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.