Wednesday, July 14, 2010


"Yea! We're going to the A B C D Y to go swimming!"

We have a beautiful lake across the street from our house. In the winter the cold blue sky is reflected on it and the bare brown trees provide a stark contrast to the blue. In the summer it's exploding with wildlife. There are hawks that live in the area and they scream to each other over the water as they look for mates and proclaim their territory. We have turtles and snakes and other creepy crawlers there. Canada geese arrive in formation and take over the beach area, calling to each other and squabbling like little children night and day.

Which is the reason that we don't usually go swim in the lake. It's nice to look at and the beach is a fun place to long as you avoid green goose droppings. Even though the lake is tested regularly, come mid-summer, there are weird globules of algae floating around and the bottom has that slimy suck-you-under sediment that's uncomfortable to walk through.

Which is the reason that we decided to look into getting a membership at the YMCA even though we have a lake with a beach, a dock and a slide right across the street from us. My husband took our daughter for a tour the first time and she loved being in the kids' room while he examined the weights and other areas she didn't care about. The nice people at the Y gave us several free passes so we could get a feel for whether we wanted to join or not. The second time we went was to go swimming. Once we were all dressed, we moved down towards the car, which is when Sophie let loose with her exclamation. It was cute, but it also reminded me of one of my least favorite things; acronyms.

There was a time when acronyms were used only for long names of things like YMCA, MRI, and FDA. For most of us, we don't even remember what they stand for, but the acronyms have become the product or program.

With the advent of text messaging acronyms have been taken to a new level. I'll read something on Facebook or a friend's blog and see a series of letters and have no idea what they mean. For instance, one friend writes about her HHBL. Any idea what an HHBL is? According to the Urban Dictionary, it's hunka-hunka burnin' love. I'm assuming that's her husband.

What's even worse to me how acronyms have bled into notes and e-mails we send. Over the past thirty years our society has gone through an amazing transformation. We used to wait by the mailbox for that personal, hand written note from a loved one because hand writing was really the fastest way to write something, even though there were typewriters. In the early 1980's word processors came along and people started typing out their correspondence even though they still had to mail the letters (and the United States Post Office sincerely misses those days). Entering the middle 1980's AOL (eek, an acronym) changed everything. E-mail and instant messaging were born and handwriting all but disappeared.

Today it's not good enough that a thought can be transmitted instantaneously via e-mail, text message or blog. Even these messages have to be abbreviated as though the person on the other end is so busy that they can't take the extra five seconds to write thank you but instead feel it necessary to use ty instead.

If you haven't guessed, I'm not a fan of abbreviations. If I write to you I won't use them because I think you're worth taking the time to write out the whole word for. When I sign my name I won't put c or cp, but I'll let you know that I'm Christiane.

Our daughter is growing up in this age and will most likely look at this and think I'm an old fogey. but, I'm sure that when she's in college and opens her mail box and finds a personalized, hand written note from her mother in there, she'll say TYVM. DYKWIM?

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