Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Take A Letter. Please.

Don’t look now but I think we are approaching a universal language, not words but a shorthand….IMHO. It’s not so much a language as A Speak.

Did all this start with FDR when he created the N.R.A., W.P.A. and C.C.C.? Back then he was president of the United States, not POTUS. Soon came WW II where the R.A.F flew in U.S. B-47s and G.Is landed on D-Day capturing P.O.Ws including the dreaded S.S. I could handle that. Even V-J Day.

There were no SATs yet or BMWs. I was riding the E or F train in Queens where we had no BMT. I graduated from B.C. P which is part of L.I.U. Already I was getting a brain ache memorizing the U.S.P and N.F.  (United States Pharmacopeia & National Formulary). My life reading Rxs depended on a fluency in Latin abbreviations such as q.s (a sufficient quantity), b.i.d. (twice a day) and o.s (left eye) etc...

Our brains can process a mere 120 bits of information per second and there are now 300 billion-billion bits out there floating around. I’ll take their word for it. Where’s my fly-swatter? At this rate acronyms will soon become a second language or maybe a first.

I’m reminded about that old story of an annual convention of visiting firemen where members would get up and tell the same jokes year after year until they decided to just give each one a number. When one guy stood up and said 23, nobody laughed. Why no response he asked and was told he didn’t tell it right.

Until last year I was fluent in the language of baseball. My friends and I would talk about RBIs (runs-batted-in) and ERAs (earned run average).  Now with the new Sabermetrics articles I’m lost in WARPs, WHIPs AND VORPs. They even measure the velocity of a hit ball and launch angle. Consider me struck out.

According to Daniel Levitin in his book, The Organizing Mind, in 2011 we took in five times the amount of information we did in 1986 which is like reading 175 newspapers a day. Do I really need to know my PSA, LDL, A1C and BP from my HMO or PPO? All this glut fatigues the brain. Where’s my delete button? I want to leave this realm lighter and not in slow motion but PDQ.

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