I am not a tweeter. I am not even a texter.
I'm not saying I never could be, but I wonder just how many acronyms and abbreviations I can work into my language at this stage of the game. And I've checked - Rosetta Stone doesn't teach the language from the country of Twitter.
I started thinking about this after receiving an email from my daughter in mostly texting language. Naturally, she texts and I know she simply forgot that text-speak is a foreign language to me. "When r u coming 2 c me? B 4 Saturday? TTYL." I hate to admit it, but it did take me extra time to figure it out. TTYL talk to you later really slowed me down. I had to dig through my memory bank . . . It was in there but had been misfiled. The only computer-speak acronyms I use regularly are BTW by the way, and LOL laughing out loud. I use LOL a lot.
Still, she got me thinking. I have to get a new cell phone soon and I might as well think about trying to master this. Thinking back I realized that I've had to learn codes before, I should be able to tackle text-speak as a second language.
One of the first things we learned years ago at the Stewardess Academy was airline codes, the three letter acronyms that define each airport. Most of them were straightforward BOS for Boston, LGA for LaGuardia, DAL for Dallas, SFO for San Francisco. In fact the other New York City airport code we learned was IDL for Idlewild. Soon afterwards, it was changed to JFK to honor President Kennedy.
But some of them were trickier. Knoxville wasn't KNX, it was TYS (Tyson Field); Louisville is not LOU, it is SDF (Standiford Field) and Toronto is, of all things, YYZ. Much later I learned that all Canadian codes begin with a Y, but it still made no sense. I never thought of Toronto as an end-of-the-alphabet kind of city.
Nevertheless, I learned all those codes, and to this day, the first thing that hits the paper when I'm writing about cities is the three-letter airport code. It only works with airline and pilot friends, much like text abbreviations work only with texters.
There were some humorous word abbreviations in airline lingo as well. I am sure that the employees of the other airlines had derogatory nicknames for American Airlines, my employer, but I never heard them. We, however referred to United as "Untied," and TWA as the Teeny Weeny Airline. I used to hear pilots in operations say, "Well I pulled right up behind Teeny Weeny on runway 31 right . . . " and everyone knew what they meant. Mohawk Airlines was called Slowhawk and Allegheny Airlines was dubbed Agony Airlines. Now that Allegheny has become USAirways, I don't know what they're called. Maybe just late.
But it's not just the airlines. Abbreviations and acronyms are in all our lives government jobs, hospitals, law enforcement, all have their own jumble of letters. I don't think any organization speaks more in acronyms than the military, but then given the long technical titles for everything they deal with, acronyms are their way of life.
Early in my marriage to a Navy pilot in SAN (oops, that's San Diego) I began to learn the jargon. The word "CinC," (pronounced sink) means Commander in Chief and "Pac" meant Pacific. . . so CincPac is the admiral who heads the Pacific Command.
Newlyweds, always looking for a bargain, we often went to dinner at the OC (officers' club) at NTC (Naval Training Center) or MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot). Another favorite hangout was the Mexican Village restaurant on Coronado. The pilots referred to it as CinCPacMexVill. I'm sure they thought they could command the entire Pacific after a few Margaritas at that bar.
Thinking back on my life, I've been a member of the GSA (thin mint cookies anyone?), the MYF, the AFL-CIO, the PTA, AAA, BUA, the APFA, WCA, USTA, YWCA, YMCA, WWC, WNRC, AARP, NSNC, LHAT and who knows how many others. Oh, and BTW, I have NOT been a member of the ACLU, the KKK or the WCTU. Do you suppose that any members in good standing of those organizations ever have any fun? I'm not taking that chance.
Now that your eyes are glazing over from all that alphabet soup, I think I have made a decision. I'm going to join the TT A the Texters and Tweeters of America. I'll download a glossary of the terms and probably will learn them very gradually - by using them. I'm pretty sure that none of my friends over sixty will have any idea what I'm talking about for weeks or months to come.
So i m off in my SUV to BUF via the I-90. R u red e 2 go? Back in time 4 T. TTYL.
You can reach Marcy O'Brien at Moby.firstname.lastname@example.org. If you text her you should have an answer by Valentine's Day.