The Joys of Acronyms
By Christopher W. Pinkham
Too numerous to acknowledge and so commonplace that communications might be foiled without them, acronyms are a language of their own. The banking industry has a laundry list of standards: the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.), DDA (Demand Deposit Account), the IRA (Individual Retirement Account) and the NOW (Negotiable Order of Withdrawal).
I actually believe that after every initiative from the Congress, staffers make a quick call to the U.S. Acronym Department (USAD) and the staff provides the words such as: HOEPA (Home Owners Equity Protection Act), FIRREA (Federal Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act) and of course, the USA PATRIOT Act (yes, it is an acronym): Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism!
The federal government’s agencies have their own language: FEMA, NOAA, USPS, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Sallie Mae and, let us not forget, Farmer Mac.
Lingo heard around the office includes: DRIB (Don’t Read If Busy), BMT (Before My Time), IBM (I Blame Microsoft), LIFER (Lazy Ignorant Fool Expecting Retirement) and, from our accounting department, FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board), GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices), and CRAP (Completely Ridiculous Accounting Practices).
Boomers have their own: BYOB, KISS, TGIF, CYA, NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard), DINK (Double Income No Kids) and, new to me, MUPPIE (Middle- Aged Urban Professional).
The Y Generation has developed a few specialty acronyms reflecting their predicament in life: SITCOM (Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage), DINKY (Double Income No Kids, Yet), ORCHID (One Recent Child, Heavily In Debt), MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers), and FEAR (Forget Everything And Run).
Our kids (the X Generation) have their own world: FIDO (Forget It and Drive On), CADET (Can’t Add, Doesn’t Even Try), BOGOFF (Buy One Get One For Free), BURP (Bankrupt Unemployed Rejected Person), OINKY (One Income, No Kids Yet), JOB (Just Over Broke), SNERT (Snot-Nosed Egotistical Rude Teenager) and my personal favorite for that crowd, IAMS – not the pet food (It’s About Me, Stupid).
My personal favorites include: AFD (automated fuel dispensers/at convenience stores), BFI (Big Freeport Indian) and SKI-ing (Spending the Kids Inheritance)!
Send me your acronyms (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Christopher W. Pinkham is president of the Maine Association of Community Banks.