Tag Archives: abbreviations

First Person + Third Person = Second Person (FP+TP=SP)

My foment of the moment concerns personhood – my personal reflections on moving from “I” to “She” – as in when

  • The clerk asks my young colleague “What does she  think?” of the lumpy garment I’m not going to buy anyway since she obviously doesn’t know I’m there.” .  or
  • A stranger asks my adult son, “Would she mind if we…” when I’d be quite able to express my own opinion of their ridiculous idea, or
  • A casual companion inquires of a younger friend  “Did she know (x)?”  — which I probably did and wouldn’t admit if I did.

Yes, one option is to shop, eat, live, and otherwise do everything alone – the problem is that the unaccompanied TP can expect to be ignored altogether.  Alone or with others, the negative impact of categorization as an invisible Third Person (TP) does not sit well with this functioning, if aging, First Person (FP).  This attitude is exacerbated by the fact that TP status almost universally to grey-haired women, seldom to silver haired men.

For all my long life I have known women who exuded FP-ness well into their senior years.  They were vital parents and relatives, colleagues, and friends.    When the clerk or waitress nodded to my diminutive mother and asked me what she wanted, I bristled while my mom, the customer, glowered  in righteous FP defiance – and did not darken that door again. A commanding presence 5-footer my mother could quell a student uprising with a withering glance.  She and her friends were FPs long after their allotted time.

Today’s  FPs would re-rank them as de-facto TPs.  After all, thee FP’s have marinated all their lives in a tempero- and ego-centric environment ruled by “I”, “me” “mine” and “now.”

Eons ago, when we TP’s were in high school we learned about the Malthusian Theory.  I recall calculating at the time that my generation would need thinning out by war or pestilence.  The clear alternative, euthanasia, seemed in my youth an inevitable possibility for my generation   Now I reflect that relegation to TP non-status is a socially acceptable form of euthanasia – out of sight, out of mind.

When children need attention they act out, an appropriate model for TPers, I’ve concluded.  Though some folks, even English majors, find his message morbid, Dylan Thomas inspires me to embrace the liberating anonymity of Third Personhood when he writes for his father and for TPs of generations to come:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Sounds good to me.  And so I intend to rage against all manner of atrocities, including at random:

  • pig-headed elected officials who can’t think for themselves, much less the voters
  • rude bus riders
  • opinion leaders who aver that the cost of war has nothing to do with the cost of Medicare  the pompous media who ignore, distort, or fail to check the facts
  • traffickers- drugs, children, and more
  • religious leaders who distort history while they prey hapless laity
  • game-playing education institutions that rob but do not teach
  • polluters
  • those who deny global warning
  • individuals and institutions that fail to nurture the children and youth who will soon enough take the place of today’s FP’s
  • anything else that denies full humanity to others.

My hope is not so much as to rave and rage but to channel the energy.  My eyes aren’t so good anymore, but I still have a vision.  That vision rests on the hope that the FP/TP world will dissolve into a robust Second Person world of “we” and “us” and “our”.  Awareness of language is a necessary if insufficient first step in the right direction.


Beyond Mere Words

Amazon, which has an answer to just about any need, features a mug that got me thinking… It raises the perplexing question – Why is ‘abbreviation such a long word?’

It got me ruminating again about acronyms and abbreviations, those clever insider codes that enhance the communication mores and egos of the cognoscenti.

As an English major who until recently thought that LOL meant Little Old Lady I am conditioned to take a radical (that’s “of or going to the root” in a traditional word dictionary) to the challenge of adapting to the social media parlance (SMP).  The social media luddites (SMLs)  tend to disparage SMP, in part because they have no facility in decoding.

Ron Callari’s attitude as expressed in InventorSpot set a tone that lured me to further Super Bowl Sunday (SBS) Reflections on acronyms, abbreviations and initials.  Contemplation has led to the harsh truth that tweets are nothing more than the 21st Century manifestation of ancient verbal rites.  From time immemorial every trade and profession has closely guarded its secret acronymic code.  What’s new is that today’s communications tools and vocabulary are within reach of the unwashed – many of whom are kids who don’t have a high school diploma, much less a Professional Degree.

To wit:

ü     Doctors (MDs) and other health care providers (eg RN’s) and health care agencies (eg FDA, NLM, MDH)   are widely renowned for their clear choice of words (COW).  It’s the patients who need access to their insider language.  The PDR is a start and the MedLexicon is one of several deciphering tools of the medical profession.

ü     Unlike most cultures, the sports world is recognized as a self-contained universe.  As a separate world it has its own colorful language, including an inner sanctum of acronyms known but to the fans and sportscasters, a vocabulary at times unfamiliar to those in the temperature controlled suites where the elite meet.  Though there is no common abbreviation language, the NFL all-caps lexicon suggests the style.

ü     Wall Street Jargon (WSJ), spoken most often by MBA’s and CEO’s, is perhaps intentionally beyond reach of the masses.  Still, even the suits depend on tools. Lacking an MBA I did check it out – it was a sort of Alice in Wonderland (AIW) hole out of which I crawled ASAP.

ü     Widely known for articulate expression of cogent thinking, the federal government stands out for its capacity to translate government functions to a pure form of acronymic communication.  There’s a guide, of course.  I’m sure there’s an abbreviation for that title but I didn’t bother looking.

ü     Closely related to and ostensibly a function of the federal government is the military industrial complex.  Though the military is not entirely forthcoming about their culture or their short-cut language, there are some decoding tips.

ü     Librarians (usually MSLS’s from ALA accredited institutions) are predictably fluent in capital letter lingo.  Because librarians need to be multi-acronym-fluent their tools are legion.  I somewhat favored the ODLIS, in part because it’s current, but also because it’s in large print with good links.

ü     Educators, particularly those in administrative positions (PhD’s and EdD’s), are driven to creativity in all endeavors, including the Creation and Advancement of Abbreviations. (CAA)  Though vehemently opposed to students’ use of cheat sheets principals and superintendents  depend at times to their professional crib sheet.

ü     If you’re thinking lawyers with JD’s don’t use abbreviations to clarify the intricacies of their chosen trade, check their secret word weapon.

ü     Since I’m writing this on the Sabbath, it seemed proper to check the ways in which world religions have adopted the language of abbreviation.  TMI (Too Much Information).  From the banquet of options I chose one small morsel, mostly because it offered insight into the distracting world of Christian bumper stickers

ü     You know the champions!  There can be no question that the cosmos will never know a culture that can hold a candle to technology. In time the culture of technology will devolve into sub-cultures, thus growing organically in application, integration and acronymization of unique languages that merge the abbreviated tongues of multiple cultures. Neophytes may want to check out this primer with the understanding that the language of technology morphs by the nano-second.  Around the globe there are squadrons of earnest people with freshly minted EEDs and PhDs in IT/CS working on just that linguistic challenge.

If perchance you just want to know what your doctor, your attorney, your broker, or your kid is trying to say, check something basic like the AcronymFinder, home of some 1,000,000+ acronym definitions. It’s one of many options.  Meanwhile, Amazon must have warehouses full of traditional ink on paper versions from days gone by – with a mug thrown in as a bonus.

Needless to say, there is an Acronym Finder Blog that will keep you UTD as the world of acronyns, abbreviations and initials.  Follow along as acronyms, abbreviations and initials (AAIs)  expand and replace traditional nouns, verbs and adjectives as the primary mode of communication of ideas and information among members of the human race (HR).

The world awaits your unique contribution to the primordial buzzword soup.  Your original acronym/abbreviation with precise definition is welcome here.