I recently got an e-mail from a friend with the following acronym in it: FMTYEWTK. Not being a frequent acronym user, I was a little confused as to what he was trying to tell me. Later in the letter he also used LSHMBH and WYSITWIRL, which made me wonder if I needed some kind of special Superhero Decoder Ring in order to translate his message. I realize we live in a world that is moving too fast, and people just don’t have time to write out entire sentences anymore, but come on!!! What the hell am I supposed to make of a bunch of letters strung together in a nonsensical fashion unless I’m already privy to the secret language it’s composed in?
I think some e-mail, text message and IM users have forgotten that some of us still live in the real world where communication means using actual words and phrases instead of generic fillers like LOL (laugh out loud) and ROFLOL (rolling on the floor laughing out loud). These two acronyms have been used so often, you’d think we had a nation of giddy idiots. Every time I see ROFLOL used in blog postings or in e-mails, I immediately begin to imagine what the person looks like as he’s rolling on the floor laughing so hard. And if he uses the abbreviation more than once in a paragraph, I’m tempted to call the local Psych Ward to go check him out. After all, if someone can’t control themselves from falling on the floor in a fit of laughter, they may have something akin to epilepsy, which is certainly nothing to laugh at.
And I also don’t think everything that someone says or thinks is LOL funny. I rarely laugh out loud, except in the privacy of my own home. So when someone describes their day, and uses the LOL acronym after every sentence, I begin to wonder how good their sense of humor actually is. “I went to see my mother. LOL. She was in the hospital. LOL. The nurse was very cute. LOL. I ate all her Jell-O cubes. LOL. She got mad at me. LOL. Told me never to come back unless I brought ice cream. LOL.” As with everything, less is more.
Another variation of this acronym is ROTFLMAOWPIMP, which literally means “Rolling on the floor laughing my a** off while peeing in my pants.” I don’t think I need to tell you what kind of colorful imagery that phrase invokes.
Students and twenty-somethings are probably the biggest abusers of this new form of electronic language, because they’re the ones obsessed with text-messaging their friends at every opportunity they get. A visit with my nieces now means frequent interruptions in our conversation; because they must constantly respond to the other five “text” conversations they’re having at the same time. Undivided attention appears to be a thing of the past, as multi-tasking conversations is now the “new Black.”
I guess I wouldn’t mind all the acronyms, if they were short and made sense. But right now, it takes so much time to figure out what each letter means that reading a simple one-paragraph e-mail might require a half hour of deciphering. Especially for someone like me, who falls into the “PCMCIA” category (People can’t master computer industry acronyms). And don’t get me wrong, I love a mystery. I just don’t think every e-mail should be akin to solving the Sunday Junior Jumble.
At any rate, I felt the need to expound on this topic for some reason. So for those of you who are also a little shaky when it comes to cracking an acronym, here are the meanings of the various phrases in the first paragraph. LSHMBH means “Laughing so hard my belly hurts” (Maybe you should go see a doctor about this) and WYSITWIRL means “What you see is TOTALLY WORTHLESS IN REAL LIFE!” (I can’t even imagine ever having the need to use this phrase, so I’m still not sure what my friend was trying to convey with it either.)
But perhaps the most important acronym is the very first one, FMTYEWTK, which means “Far more than you ever needed to know,” a clear reference to how I feel about the content of this post.
But that’s just me. What do you think about the overuse of acronyms?