Reading through my fan mail the other day, I saw a letter requesting that I address the subject of acronyms.
That, of course, is complete BS and I expect many of you will be wishing I would just STFU. I don’t have any fan mail. Actually, quite the opposite; I am currently stalking several well-known Hollywood celebrities by letter. I tried stalking by email but they get spammed and returned to me.
Generally, I like acronyms. I particularly like it when acronyms reflect what it is they are describing. SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – is a good one. Some things need an acronym because they are just too long-winded otherwise.
What I don’t like is when companies use acronyms in some pathetic attempt to motivate their staff. When I briefly worked in a bank as a BOVR operator (acronym meaning Back Office Voucher Reading), I saw such feeble efforts all over the walls. One I remember was TEAM, written so:
TEAM is highly appropriate in a bank. It’s only by acting together that the staff creates the thinking power of a single brain.
There were many others and I wanted to tear them all down. But as that would have been frowned upon, I decided to join in instead. I went home one night and came in the next day with my own poster which I tacked up in the staff room.
That’s not a nice word in the UK. I was instructed to remove the poster. I put it up in the store room instead. I decided against displaying my pièce de résistance: Amazing Results See Everyone Happy Only Losers Enjoy Shirking.
I don’t think the Secret Service is very good at acronyms. I think POTUS is pretty easy to decipher for any unfriendlies monitoring FBI radio transmissions. Not very secret at all, really. But it’s the President’s wife I feel sorry for. They call her FLOTUS.
Imagine Barack and Michelle are at a function at the French embassy. They both go to the washroom together but Barack finishes first and goes back to his seat. A Secret Service agent asks him where his wife is. Barack realises she’s not there and laughs as he gives his response. At the back of the room is a Reuters reporter who can lip-read.
The next day, a diplomatic incident flares up as Reuters reports: “Obama jokes he left floaters in French Embassy toilet.”
It could happen.