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Left Coast/Right Coast: Abbrev. (Abbreviations and other offensive intrusions in our lives)

HTHAY? (How the hell are you?) We live in a culture chock full of abbreviations. Sometimes it is impossible to actually understand what the other person is saying.
Mike Gold is a retired entrepreneur providing his views on the Northwest. Photo credit: Katie Stearns.

By Mike Gold, a retired entrepreneur who describes himself as a, “relatively recent transplant to the West Coast. I have lived (born and raised) in the Northeastern U.S. So these observations are based upon ‘living the dream’ in the Pacific Northwest.”

HTHAY? (How the hell are you?) We live in a culture chock full of abbreviations. Sometimes it is impossible to actually understand what the other person is saying. Example: I went AWOL because my POSSLQ was becoming a PITA. I went away without telling anyone – (absent without leave) because my cohabitator (person of the opposite sex sharing living quarters) had become difficult (a pain in the *ss).

Or I suspect the NSA, DCA, FBI, DOJ or CIA thinks I am an effin (f-king) terrorist because I wrote that the POTUS and FLOTUS (President of the United States, First Lady of the United States) were MIA (missing in action). Too bad as I’ve BTDT (been there done that) and that is a BFD (big freakin’ deal).

So why is this how we find ourselves as I ROFLMAO (roll on the floor laughing my *ss off)? The answer is the information explosion.

Since about the mid-50’s we have been overrun with information. There is just so much going on that it is impossible to keep up.

Enter the Reader’s Digest. This company was founded to help us all find the time to “digest” all the information that is exploding around us. Their specific niche was to condense a book into a shorter format – so we could all “keep up” with the great works of literature.

As an aside, I’ve done business with Readers Digest and one of the funniest things (ROFLMAO) I saw was walking down the hall in their Pleasantville, New York offices. There was a Xerox machine sitting just below an original Picasso painting.

Why did I ROFLMAO? Well, think about it. The Xerox machine made copies of originals. Why did Reader’s Digest have to put an original Picasso on the wall? Wouldn’t a copy have been more appropriate? Better yet, a postage stamp sized reproduction of the original.

As another aside, Reader’s Digest filed for bankruptcy protection a few years ago. Readers Digest Files for Bankruptcy, Again.  I guess they just weren’t “brief” enough.

Now since the founding of Readers Digest, other companies have attempted to help us “save time” in our consumption of the growing daily information overload. My favorite was the company formed with the specific objective of “Bringing you a shortened condensation of everything published in the world on a daily basis.”

At first, this company would publish several pages of material, which was a summary of everything published that day. As they got more subscribers, there was even more pressure to abbreviate the summation of each day’s published information.

It reached a zenith in 2003 when the company abbreviated the entire world’s published daily information in a single six-letter word. For example, February 21, 2003’s word was “xwtxyz.” That was a condensation of everything published in the world on the previous day.

Once they went to a single six-letter word every day, annual subscriptions dropped precipitously and the company “ZXX Corp” filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2004. (If you believe any of this then you’ll know why I’m ROFLMAO.)

Anyway, enjoy your BLT and OJ with your WASP VIPs. Myself, I’m going to avoid my POSSLQ’s PMS by having a nice BM ASAP.

Other things that bother me: (This list is endless but here are just two):

1. The Green Do-Gooders. I had a student in my University of Washington Bothell entrepreneurship class who was one of these types.

One day my class and I were having a discussion about Wal-Mart and up pops this student railing at the company. How it is an evil enterprise destroying life in the U.S. as we know it.

So I asked her what she meant. She answered, “They are putting all the local small businesses out of business.”

So I said, “I buy lots of cans of tennis balls. At Wal-Mart a can of Wilson tennis balls is 30 cents cheaper than anywhere else I can buy it. If you were asked to choose which store you’d buy a can of tennis balls; $1.80 per can at Wal-Mart, $2.30 per can at Sports Authority, or $2.80 per can at the local mom and pop sports store; where would you buy it?”

She answered (from Jackie Gleason – The Honeymooners), “Hommina, hommina, hommina.”

In other words, no answer but the obvious: There is a reason Wal-Mart advertises that a typical family saves over $2,000 per year by shopping at Wal-Mart.

This is not a commercial for Wal-Mart. It is simply an appeal for sanity and rational thought in our daily lives.

2. The unsolicited telemarketing phone call. (Are they ever solicited?). So there I am sitting on the porcelain throne enjoying a moment of solitude when the house phone rings. Do I attempt to get up (sans pants – which are around my ankles) and get to the phone or let it go to voice mail? Problem is if it goes to voice mail, our service requires that you listen to the entire message before you can delete it. So I stumble to the phone.

It is a funeral service offering me, “permanent peace in your final resting place.” So I told them, “You know, I’ve thought a lot about this and I’ve decided that when I go, I’m going to have my ashes sprinkled out of the back of a 737 over Cleveland, Ohio. Now why don’t you give me your home telephone so I can call you back when you are on the toilet – or at dinner and talk more about this with you?”  

They replied, “Well, I guess you’ve given this a lot of thought” followed by a hang up. And I never did get their home phone number.

I’ve added our home phone number to the “do not call list.” Frankly, I think when you put your phone number on that list, the entity that manages it simply sells all these numbers to the telemarketers. But that’s just me.

Am I paranoid? – No. I’m a cynic. Paranoia is when someone in the stands at a baseball game sees the catcher walk out to talk with the pitcher and thinks they’re talking about him.

What does this column have to do with the PNW? I am a member of the PCAPNWR (Porsche club of America – Pacific Northwest region). Other than this, nothing.

See you next time. Hope you CYA (cover your *ss) at all times.

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