A few years back, the blockbuster movie Independence Day adopted the moniker ID4 to sell merchandise. Last year, entertainer Jennifer Lopez began going by the name J-Lo. Recently, I’ve heard friends refer to Ann Arbor as A2, and find myself doing the same.

I began to wonder, are we Americans too busy to use whole words…or are acronyms and abbreviations just too much fun to resist?

It’s easy to assume this is a backlash of the computer generation with their PC’s and CD Roms.

They enter chat rooms where they LOL and <G> instead of saying, “That was funny.”  They listen to MP3’s, watch DVD’s, and ride around in SUV’s. (Except in communities where 4WD’s are unPC.)

But can this abbreviated language be so easily blamed on the Gen X’ers?

I think not.

Each generation of Americans has its own acronyms. Just ask anyone who ever ate at Mickey D’s, used TP, or watched TV.

Ever own a VW Bug? Ride a BMX? Eat a BLT?

Did you vote for FDR? JFK?  LBJ?

Do you have a ZIP code?

Aha! I thought so.

And in our small world of children’s writing, we pull out our acronyms faster than our SCBWI membership cards. We’ve all received SASE’s from S&S months after the stated turnaround time in the CWIM. We hope our PB WIPs become F&Gs and that we get our acceptances ASAP.

Whether you were a GI in WWII in the 40’s, were a Yuppie in the 80’s, or graduated from MSU the year of the OJ trial, you entered Y2K with your abbreviations in tow.

Don’t be afraid of  Ab-Speak—embrace it!

Remember: An acronym a day keeps the MD away. (And that’s important since your HMO isn’t accepted at the ER!)


Lisa Wheeler (aka LAW) uses her PC to write PB’s, EZ’s and MG’s in S.E. MI

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