By Austin Snedden, Contributor, Valley Ag Voice
Eventually we may see the day when we only communicate in acronyms. Oil industry guys love acronyms, as well as military personnel and government agencies. When I talk to these folks, I don’t want to look uninformed and ask for a translation book, so I just have a blank stare on my face as I try to jam words on to all those letters. Meanwhile I didn’t hear anything said after the acronym that triggered the puzzle solving. The problem is, we only have twenty six letters in the alphabet (if you have read any of my articles, you know that my limited vocabulary poses little threat to overusing the alphabet) so some of these acronyms are the same for different things.
For some of us, this acronym confusion came to a head when “black lives matter” (BLM) came to the forefront. The federal government is the largest landowner in the western United States, so when many of us hear “BLM” we think of Bureau of Land Management. Ironically enough, the land baron of the BLM has a pretty expansive law enforcement wing. So, when many of us non “woke” folks heard of BLM protesting police brutality, we kind of scratched our heads.
I guess if I am talking about fabricated terminology, I shouldn’t use the word “woke.” I was hearing it and recently educated myself on it. It is a slang term that means being awakened to injustice in society. Upon learning this, I realized that it is apparently possible to be culturally sophisticated and awakened to societal injustices, while at the same time being completely un-“woke” to grammar and language. After doing some research as to which types of people are “woke,” it is apparent based on the pictures that it is one thing to be awakened to societal issues, but to be fully “woke,” one must completely embrace the skinny jean and man bun.
One of the acronyms that got me for a while was POTUS, meaning president of the United States. It is hard to think that the term “the president” was causing overexertion or confusion. I think what really incentivized the acronym culture was certain social media platforms that limit the number of letters you can use in a post. Although I don’t use that media platform, these acronym tactics quickly transferred to emails and text messages. TTYL, BRB, IDK, J/K, LOL, BFF. I have to go to my children for translation, and new ones are always coming along. Possibly, my frustration comes from my inability to get my own acronyms for certain phrases to take off. For some reason I can’t seem to get people on board abbreviating phrases such as: “Cattle Ranchers Are People,” “Functional Agricultural Round Table,” “Livestock Associated Management Exercises,” “Future Agriculture Initiatives League” or “Stock Horse In Trailer.”
Maybe I am behind the curve when it comes to ranch efficiency; maybe we should be using more acronyms. In a time-sensitive situation, why waste a whole sentence on, “you better hustle, that cow is looking to come out the gate,” when you can simply state YBHTCILTCOTG! Instead of telling my dad, “that old red cheeked cow calved in the north pasture,” maybe I will just simply give him a TORCCCITNP. The confusion with some of these acronyms is that when sounded out phonetically, they sound almost identical to some of the words I utter when I bump my head ducking under the goose neck trailer. When I hit my shin on a trailer hitch, maybe I can tell my kids that all those words they heard coming from me were just acronyms.
Maybe we can just agree to only make acronyms for things that need it. If you utter any salty language when you acronym your shin on the trailer hitch, just tell those sensitive ears you were talking about the “Direct Agricultural Management Necessities.”