Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Attack of the Acronyms

One of you works in wastewater, another labored for BP, a third was cruelly misapplied by Disney and another gathers years in university offices; one of you toils in social services and yet another claws her way through the Manhattan marketing world, and two more served in separate branches of the military for vastly different lengths of time. There was that cab company you owned, Mom, and LBT will forever hold a dual meaning for us, even if neither LBT is still in the family, so to speak. The point is that today, pretty much everybody can sympathize with me.

After a pleasant pre-dawn journey with Bruce in the City Expedition, we sat at a linen-draped table in the datedly grandiose ball room of the Rock Springs Holiday Inn. And there we found ourselves faced with a slideshow saturated with the most baffling assortment of acronyms I have ever seen. We were continuously bombarded. From the deceptively simple VA (Vulnerability Assessment) to the unpleasantly evocative WEURM (irrelevant, but oddly appropriate if you knew which City employee it represents), the acronyms were flying like fastballs from a pitching machine. ERP! SCADA! NIMS! DEP! ICS! WARWS! AWWA! SEMS! CDC! LEPC! LRN! WARN! I wanted to crawl under the table and curl up in the fetal position. It was worse than those months with the Census Bureau. (WHUHEE!)

They kept coming all afternoon, down to the final TEF (Training Evaluation Form), at which time I noticed that even the instructor's name was followed by an illustrious PE (Professional Engineer). During this barrage of simplification-turned-aggravation, a girl brought in a tub of icy colas (POP) and a tray of freshly baked cookies so hot the sugar burned my tongue. And even though it hurt, there was something sweet about that.



Anonymous gypsyfeet said...

Our editors finally agreed that spelling out cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate for c-di-GMP wasn't going to help anyone understand it any better if they didn't already know what it meant.

February 8, 2007 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger A said...

Right. Because not everybody's, you know, really that into microbial genomics. Who the heck are you?

(Word verification: vnpzib.)

February 9, 2007 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Shepcat said...

Still, you've got to love any acronym whose pronunciation would be "seedy gimp."

February 9, 2007 at 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Larry said...

WEURM sounds hideous and makes me feel more than slightly icky.

February 13, 2007 at 9:54 AM  

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