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Texting in ‘Age of the Acronym’

September 21, 2012

My high school friends and I took a road trip this weekend and had to pull off the road several times to yuk-it-up over some gaff we had made while pretending to be tech-savvy.

Being pretty hip oldsters who pride ourselves on being able to perform a variety of functions on our cell phones, we discovered that we still have some important lessons to learn. Remember now, we grew up in the Age of Aquarius, and have accidentally wandered into the Age of the Acronym. When did that happen?

 I’m sure we’re not the first to be totally bewildered by those mysterious abbreviations used by the younger generation — which by now includes practically everyone on the planet.  In our chronic “fuddyduddy-ness” we can get into real trouble trying to keep up the appearance of hipness. It’s akin to wearing cowboy boots and a mini skirt to football games. It works for a college co-ed, but makes women of my generation look like a comedy act at a rodeo.

 Case in point: My friend, Judy, was forced to undergo a sort of intervention recently when her four children called a family conference to educate her regarding the use of LOL.  Back in the day, it meant “Lots of Love,” and we signed off on all our cards and letters with the widely accepted term of endearment. 

 Well, apparently someone changed the meaning while we were napping or popping Geritol.

 When Judy sent an e-mail to her nephew who had undergone a traumatic head injury, she concluded with “We are praying for you. LOL!” Imagine her embarrassment when she learned that the contemporary meaning of LOL is “laughing out loud.” She compounded the insult by using all caps!  
 I began to review my own texting challenges. My son once texted “kthxbai” and I puzzled for hours over what he was trying to communicate. Kick the bucket? A modern day version of Kumbaya? I had to CALL him on the phone to clarify that it meant “Okay thanks. Bye.” Who knew?

 Remember how the school system once encouraged older people to mentor the young? Maybe it’s time for our kindergarteners to form a mentoring group for their elders and teach them the finer points of texting and tweeting. 

 Here’s another warning for the texting novice. Carefully review your text messages before sending because most systems will auto-correct your text in embarrassing ways. My best friend got a text from her mother the other day. It said, “Your father and I are going to divorce next month.” She phoned home immediately only to learn the text was supposed to read, “Your father and I are going to Disney next month.”
 About the only acronym I recognize is TGIF which I interpret as Thank Goodness It’s Friday.  Imagine my surprise when I spotted a sign on the wall of a neighborhood shoe store. It said, “TGIF -Toes Go In First.” Now there’s some information you can use!

We better get used 2 it, because I suspect texting is here to stay. I’ll sign off for now. HAK to you all (That means hugs and kisses!). 
Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a blog for bouncing boomers facing retirement.  She welcomes comments at

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