One of the first acronyms I can remember was TGIF. At the time, I thought it referred to the restaurant. So when newscasters said, TGIF, the weekend is here! I thought you could only go to TGIF on weekends.
In middle school, I knew I had a BFF. But by high school, we were no longer friends and I had a new BFF. That friendship also petered out and I learned that sadly, forever didn’t work for me. So it was more like BFFN (not!).
As I got older, it seemed people communicated more and more with acronyms. I always had trouble deciphering them, and I blame that on the fact that English was not my first language.
LOL was one of the first ones I learned. At first I thought it was stupid to have to tell people to laugh out loud at something you wrote, but now I find I use it all the time. LMAO just baffled me. I thought it meant, Love Me All Over. When I found out what it really meant, I shook my head because I’ve certainly never laughed until my ass fell off.
And then came LMFAO, which I thought was just the name of a band. Then they added ROFL to that. Rock On Free Love? But then what does ROFLMAO mean? And sometimes I’d see it as ROTFLMAO. Or ROTFLMFAO. WTF (Where’s The Food?)!
When I owned a gym, the girls (and yes, they all seemed like girls to me) that worked the front desk were usually in their early 20’s. Their emails to me were peppered with acronyms. “LMK (Love My Kisses?) what you want me to do.” “IDK (Impish Damn Kids?) how to do that.” “JTLYK (???) I have to leave early. TTYL (Take That You Lout)!”
And the one that baffled me the most was <3. One girl always signed off with this. I asked Jim – what does this mean? Why does she always end her emails with Less Than 3? Jim was as baffled as I was. So for over a year, I read her emails as ending with, Less Than 3, Cindy. Or I Less Than 3 You!
When I finally asked her why she kept saying that, she just laughed at me and said I was so cute (me cute?). She told me it was a symbol for “heart”. So she was hearting me, not less than 3-ing me. Oh. I felt old and stupid.
Acronyms are everywhere. We use GPS to get around in our SUVs as we RSVP for VIP parties. We go to CPAs for taxes and apply CPR when unconscious. And if you’re sick, you’ll probably see a GP, a LPN, an RN or a PA and they check your BP and calculate your BMI and do EKG or EEG or ECG on you. And send you for CAT SCANs or MRIs. My head is spinning from trying to figure out what all that means.
Recently, while describing items for my Etsy shop, I came across OOAK. WTF is that? A big important tree? I found out later it meant One Of A Kind.
Here is how I would interpret this email.
Hey Best Friend Forever (Not),
Love My Kisses, what’s up for tonight? Just To Lick Your Knees, that story was funny! Rock On Free Love Me All Over. Impish Damn Kids but that was a Great Big Tree. Oh My God! Take That You Lout!
Less Than Three, Me
WTF? (Where’s The Food?)