It’s a joke so old, I don’t remember the punch line. A guy stands up in a town hall meeting and shouts a number. People around him laugh. A second person calls out another number and again those present break into applause. The community is so accustomed to one another, they’ve reduced their communications to a shorthand. — which makes the joke weird and funny without the punch line.
Language often simplifies as it evolves. “Is not” becomes “isn’t.” The article “that” is disappearing as when, “The book that I read,” becomes “The book I read.” The examples are many and in an earlier blog, I talked about Moby Dick being written with emoji. (Blog 9/2/14)
A few millennials have joined my circle on Facebook of late. I’m being exposed to slang more advanced than IMHO or LOL. Seldom do I understand their abbreviations, but I will grant that, for those in the know, an alphabet string allows them to express the commonplace faster. What puzzles me is why they are in such a hurry. They probably won’t pause to answer, but youngsters should be warned. I’ll bring down a curse upon any who thinks, “2B or not 2B” is literature.
Like the young, the ultra-rich employ a secret slang to communicate with one another, says writer Ben Schott. (Noblesse Oblique,” by Ben Schott, Town & Country, 2/17/17 pg. 29.) Well, why not? They’re exclusive about everything else. Here are some examples which Schott may have risked his life to share. PLU means “people like us.” The opposite is NQOSD, “Not quite our sort, darling.” Never be guilty of MIF (milk in first) — pouring milk into your cup before your tea. Or HKLP, holding your fork like pen. NSIT (Not safe in taxis) is useful to any female of any social status, I should think.
At 80, I hope I can be forgiven for wanting neither my life nor my language to speed up. I’ve enough trouble chasing upgrades on my computer. I see nothing wrong with taking time to stop and stare. Have we forgotten the art of doing nothing? Perhaps, some think that’s a lesson best reserved for the grave. If true, I’ve already raced ahead. My tombstone will read: WTF?
(Originally published 2/2/17)