It’s hardly a news flash that we live in a world where people are always looking for a shortcut. Maybe that’s what gave birth to acronyms and abbreviations, which have blended into our everyday world to such an extent that many people do not even give a second thought to the fact they’re using one.
It’s hardly a news flash that we live in a world where people are always looking for a shortcut that will save them a few seconds and make their life a little easier during the course of a given day.
Maybe that’s what gave birth to acronyms and abbreviations, which have blended into our everyday world to such an extent that many people do not even give a second thought to the fact they’re using one.
For the record, an acronym is a word formed from the initial letters of a name. Its cousin, the abbreviation, is a shortened form of a word or phrase used chiefly in writing to represent the complete form.
I’ve always felt two of the most clever acronyms were MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) and SADD (Students Against Drunk Drivers).
Words have entered our everyday language that are actually acronyms. One can hardly turn on The Weather Channel without hearing the word “radar,” which stands for radio detecting and ranging.
Acronyms and abbreviations are most effective when used properly. People in my line of work tend to fall in love with these shortcuts. If a reporter covers a certain “beat” long enough, he or she can expect to be exposed to its acronyms and abbreviations. After hearing them long enough, the writer will start using them.
The trap door is that because we’ve used these shortcuts frequently the general public, which (wink, wink) always reads every word a reporter writes, is familiar with all of them. Consequently, the writer stops defining what the HBPW (Hannibal Board of Public Works), MSHSAA (Missouri State High School Activities Association) and DED (Department of Economic Development) represent.
What helps keep me grounded in this regard is when someone tosses an abbreviation or acronym at me which I’m not familiar with and I wind up burning 20 minutes or more trying to decipher how it is spelled and what it means.
Truth be told, some abbreviations and acronyms can stand for vastly different organizations or things. If you’re a lawyer and hear ABA, you’ll likely think of American Bar Association. However, a longtime fan of professional basketball might immediately think of the old American Basketball Association.
Among people of faith, a common abbreviation is WWJD - “What would Jesus do?” I’m old enough to remember when you couldn’t go to church without seeing a WWJD wristband, necklace, Bible cover or T-shirt.
While I don’t see WWJD reminders as frequently as I once did, sometimes those of us who profess Jesus as our savior need a little WWJD reminder before we act or speak.
I’m not sure which church it was, but during this year’s July 4 parade, one of the congregations was passing out “gold” coins which were inscribed with WWJD. My daughter, Anna, got one and gave it to me.
I’ve put it in a visible slot on my camera bag. Why there?
My son, Jacob, is an extremely talented photographer. By nature, I’m a “meat-and-potatoes” photographer - I see something I like, I shoot it and move on. Jacob, maybe in part because of his architectural background, is an artist when it comes to his photography. He’ll look for different angles, shapes and shadows that will make a compelling shot that frequently I would have walked right past.
I’m trying to take more artistic photos, but it’s not been easy. (The phrase “Making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” keeps coming to mind.) I’ve told Jacob that as I survey a potential photo scene, I’m now constantly asking myself “what would Jacob do?”
The WWJD coin in my camera bag not only reminds to stop and think about the photos I take, but how I should respond in moments of frustration when a potentially great photo falls through.