Letter: Knock It Off, ASAP
To the Editor:
I am starting an organization called AA: Acronymics Anonymous. It is for recovering acronym addicts.
An acronym is an abbreviation using components or letters of a word formation, such as CEO for chief executive officer, or AA for Acronymics Anonymous. Of course, the very acronym AA is an example of the illness it purports to help people recover from: addictive use of mind-numbing abbreviations.
Actually, I believe “acronym” is itself an acronym for A Crazy Rarefied Often Nonsensical Yuppie Meaning — the kind of code a member of the ACLU would understand, but not one from the YMCA or the RNC.
Recently I have been on the warpath with the Hartford Selectboard about its overuse of acronyms in public and televised meetings. Why invite the public to attend or view your deliberations if you are going to make them feel like outsiders by speaking in insider private codes?
This is similar to a Yale student speaking to a Vermonter about YDS (Yale Divinity School) or YDN (Yale Daily News) or YNHH (Yale New Haven Hospital): It is always poor manners to speak in a way that makes your listener feel like you know a secret language they don’t know.
It’s just plain rude.
Despite sending many emails of protest and theatrically exiting one Hartford Selectboard meeting itself while proclaiming loudly, “I will not be held hostage to insider acronyms,” I was invited by the undeterred Selectboard chairman to attend a March 27 public meeting of a town committee working on plans for the renovation of the Hartford Municipal Building.
Within the first minute, my understanding ground to a halt by the use of RFQ and RFB. In exasperation, I interrupted and asked for clarification of these mysterious insider codes. RFQ means “request for qualifications.” I have forgotten what RFB means, but I was given a paper that informed me that TOH means Town of Hartford.
I have a suggestion for the SB of the TOH: Admit you are powerless over acronyms and that your meetings have become unmanageable. Then join AA.
Paul D. Keane
White River Junction