Saturday, March 16, 2013

Acronyms Redux for Retirees

As a lover of language, I like to keep up with the acronyms in our pop culture. I’m not referring here to the text abbreviations used primarily for Instant Messaging (IM) or Twitter. I’m talking about phrases used in daily conversation or mainstream media. Lately I’ve amused myself by rejiggering the words that make up some of the better-known acronyms, tweaking them into something especially appropriate for retirees.

Take for example the political term RINO. When I first heard it, I assumed it was spelled Rhino and referred to elected officials who had a thick hide. Turns out it stands for Republicans In Name Only. This acronym begs to be redefined as Retirees In Name Only. From what I’ve seen, it’s more of a truism than a nickname, since many retirees poke their noses into other people’s business as a way to fight boredom.

I’m guilty of this myself. If I’m in a retail store, I’m compelled to tidy up the racks of clothing and I’m tempted remerchandise them while I’m at it. That’s bad enough in and of itself, but then I have to find the owner or manager and lecture them on keeping their stock in order. If I’ve moved things around, I also explain why the way I’ve displayed the goods is superior to what they had done. I’m a RINO if ever there was one.

Another good example is the hot property YOLO. It stands for You Only Live Once. It has bored its way into pop lingo through the song “The Motto” and the promotion of that motto via a tattoo sported by tweenybopper heartthrob, Zac Efron. The Urban Dictionary defines it as The dumbass's excuse for something stupid that they did.

Wikipedia tells us it’s a motto similar to carpe diem, suggesting that people “should enjoy life, even if that entails taking risks.” That certainly sounds like a motto someone my age could live by. But since the youth culture now owns YOLO, I’m giving retirees a phrase that’s equally appropriate, but highly unlikely to be co-opted by trendy actors.

Our new motto shall be YODO—You Only Die Once. Think about it. We can engage in all sorts of risky behavior and when we’re called out on it by friends and family, being lectured to take care lest we get injured (or worse), we can holler out: “YODO! Deal with it.” Who are they kidding? It only matters to them because they don’t want to get stuck taking care of us if we get incapacitated doing something stupid. YODO, Baby, YODO.

Closely related to YODO is YOGOO—You Only Grow Old Once. Like YODO, YOGOO can be used to excuse a plethora of bad behavior. It’s more versatile than YODO, since YOGOO behavior doesn’t need to be risky, just offensive. It has the added benefit of sounding like something you’d call a person engaging in that type of activity.

Another term I uncovered—one that was new to me—is FOMO. It stands for Fear Of Missing Out and explains why people sit through poorly conceived movies, attend boring lectures and eat at restaurants that are popular but, well… lousy. They don’t want to miss out on something fashionable that they don’t appreciate but almost everyone else (for reasons unknown to anyone with a glimmer of intelligence or good taste) does.

The retirees’ version of FOMO is FOCO: Fear Of Checking Out. The older we get, the more we worry that we’re going to predecease our peers and, by extension, MO on a lot of good stuff. We wouldn’t want to ride off into the sunset the week before Ferran Adrià announces he’s decided to resurrect el Bulli within walking distance of our condo development. (Thank you, nephew Barry, for enabling me to sound so worldly.)

We also don’t want to CO until we've done everything on our bucket list. If we haven’t made that list yet (like yours truly), we’re in a precarious position. We could CO at anytime and not MO on anything we’d officially hoped to do. This is a good reason to make your own bucket list now. It gives you an incentive to live in a way that will keep you from C-ing O prematurely.

There are many more acronyms we could delve into. You might want to create a parlor game out of this. As for me, I’m redirecting my attention to putting together my bucket list.
Item one: Make this a very long list.
Item two: Do everything on it before I CO.
OK. That’s a good start. I’m ready for a break. And a nice glass of wine.
TGFI. (Thank God For Imbibing!)

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