Shorthand – September 25, 2020

You might have to look for it, but it’s there: language and innuendo.  Hence NSFW.

Now, if you’re so bored, so lacking something to torque your bonnet1 that you are prepared to take umbrage at what follows, get a life!  This is an old guy poking at follies and foibles of a singular aspect of life as it is practiced nowadays, especially by younger people, and by those unfortunate older dudes and dudettes wanting desperately to be seen as youthful, therefore hep, cool, with it, all-knowing, and enviable.

This is not a rant.  Unhappy with the situation I’m soon to get into [I promise] at worst, I find the whole of it amusing and entertaining while still often confusing and frustrating. A genuine rant takes passion, bile, and energy I’m not prepared to waste on this subject.   

I’m talking about the way “we” communicate with written word.  Today.  For the last, I dunno, maybe ten years.  Becoming more pronounced daily.  Written word?  Some of the way it’s done now requires words, but there’s the rub, the burr under my saddle: abbreviations, acronyms, icons, emojis and emoticons, and trendy, terse symbolism2 supplant much content of text, email, Twitter, Tweet, and Belch, and even spoken communications.

Are we that lazy?  What, might I ask, are the youth [and trendy, hip, swave3 old wannabes] saving their energy for?  Tossing bricks while shopping? Surfing the net to see what the Kardashians are up to? Getting Zelda free from Jemurgian imprisonment?  Checking pro sports scores of games that didn’t happen? 

Yes, even I have fallen into this base practice.  If there is one out there who has not, I commend you.  I doubt your veracity, but I commend you on the possibility it might be true, while chuckling to myself, “yeah, and s/he doesn’t like chocolate either!”  Not perfect, but I avoid these rude abbreviations when I can, when I am allowed to get away with it.

Okay, grant the argument: fewer characters, fewer electrons must die to move the “message” from one cell phone to another. Huh, yeah. About that Arizona swampland…


IMHO.  In my humble opinion.4  When someone uses this, it’s not opinion.  It is, as far as that person cares to allow, gospel fact, irrefutable, and shame upon anyone who can’t see the validity of it.   Humility has absolutely no part in it, never comes into play.

ROFL.  Rolled on the floor laughing. Okay.  Sure.  But really?  Nah.  How about, “Laughed so hard tears came to my eyes”?  A bit more expressive, I think.  If I write that to someone, it means more than ROFL or LSHIWMP which both leave the thought open to gross misinterpretation. Or try, “So damned funny, I nearly soiled my britches!”?  ROFL can’t say,  “Made me chuckle.”  What? MMC?  WTF is MMC? 

What’s the hurry?  Can’t take time to spell it out? Hmm.  The effort would callous your thumbs and forefingers? Oh.  I see.  Some of your peers might not be able to read real words. Is that it?

Used to be until a few years ago, even exchanges between the most seasoned practitioners of this “art” resulted in one asking the other, “What does GLRG mean?” On receiving an explanation, one merely observing could almost hear the slap-to-forehead, “Oh, yeah, sure, I get it.”  Ten years later, not knowing is not to be admitted, so not understanding, snowed communicators5 simply ignore unknowns in hopes no one will see they ain’t got a clue.

I could go back to school – college or uni(versity) – for a PhD, publish, and still fall precariously short of a comprehensive work.

So.  Does this post make my ass look big?6   Don’t bother with an answer.  The question was rhetorical.

All this is just IMHO.  Snort!  [ I mean, “MMC.”]

Are you Fiver on that?


1 Bonnet.  No, friends in Great Britain, Australia, and other countries where proper (and quaint) English is spoken, not the hood of the family sedan.  The soft matter occupying the cavity between your ears, your hat rack.

2 I suspect the practice has evolved slowly from my generation.  Starting with fascination over radio-ese of 10-4, Roger that, Copy, What’s your 10-38? And the like.  Beam me up, Scotty.  An attempt to be technical, sci-fi-ish, cool, and cryptic all at once.  Since everyone gradually has no choice but to at least understand these perversions, the magic wears thin.  Thus, newer replacements are devised and deployed.

3 Swave.  Suave.  This is not literature.  It’s a damned blog.  Imagine (that means ‘pretend’ for you younger peeps) you read my words and hear my less than sophisticated, somewhat ignorant drawl as if you and I are relaxing while sipping brews and commiserating over hell-in-a-handbasket current events.

4 There’s some argument here.  BFD. In My Humble Opinion or In My Honest Opinion? WGAS? Or if your tastes run dark blue, WGAF?

5 Now, one must wonder, given this, are the parties involved communicating, or merely sharing unintelligible noises, albeit in written form not too far afield from cuneiform characters in terms of universal understanding?

6 Inna olden days, my Pop was fond of telling me, “Your ass is out a mile!” when I felt the courage of my convictions enough that I spoke my mind.  So this question, not only pokes at “does this…” so often asked, and usually with silly motivation and consequences, but has devious underlying meaning: does what I’ve written make my prejudice, intolerance, ignorance, insensitivity, and oldguyishness, painfully apparent?  That is, for those of you slow on the uptake, have I made an ass of myself?

PSA: Greetings, new followers.  I remind, a declared old guy, “saucy” is too polite for how I occasionally slip into vernacular and profanity.  While I rarely mean to be, well, uh, mean, for people clearly lacking a sense of humor and appreciation for cynicism and satire, I will appear sexist (I am not) intolerant (I just looked again: I am not) unkind and insensitive (well, now and again, maybe) and prejudiced (again, I am not; hell, I’m an old guy, who’s gotten along marvelously with green and purple people all my life).  You’ll find me more often self-deprecating than casting stereotypical aspersions. 

If it seems to you I laugh at you, rest assured, I’m just laughing. Got nothing to do with you. Don’t be so impressed with your own importance.  However, there’s the Legend of the Foo Forest and the Yellow Fingers.  Bear that in mind.  Also understand I likely just came off a session of self-examination. 


Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

4 thoughts on “Shorthand – September 25, 2020

  1. I don’t think you could appear more sexist than this woman (me). I agree with Margot Asquith, who said, “‘women have no reason, very little humour, hardly any sense of honour…and no sense of proportion.’ I would not vote for any woman who was not Mrs. Thatcher.

    1. Thanks for popping-in. Okay. You’re a Brit? Well, seems to me most Brit women I’ve “met” have sharp senses of hunor, seasoned with sharp tongues. Gimme a little venom any time.

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