Unabbreviated Content


    OMG, LMFAO

    
Using the brevity of acronyms within the hyper speed world of text messaging and Facebook posts makes a lot of sense. It’s quick, to the point, and for the generation which is text typing most of the letters and numbers, it turns their otherwise easily observable messages into secret code: PR911, 4Q, 420, GNOC, PAW. 

    
Secret, that is, until the codes become so universally accepted that even parents are privy to the hidden language. A teen’s worst nightmare, I am sure.

    
The thing is, those teens are not nearly as clever as they think they are. First off, I’d posit that we of another generation may have chiseled out the beginnings to the whole acronym anonymity.  At the close of all those notes being tossed on desks, and handed off in hallways and homerooms long ago, was invariably a script of innocuous letters. Seemingly meaningless, except to the author, and hopefully, the recipient.

    
In my own writing, I was always hesitant to join in on the big-message sentiment of those little letters. AFA –really how did I know if I was going to be their friend ALWAYS? For that matter, what exactly did they mean by friend? 

    
It’s the likes of these memories that make me wonder -did I really over think every uttered syllable and written word? 

    
Probably, yes. 

    
A friend –yes, the real kind- told me not long ago that I was disgustingly deep as a kid. Yeech! Who would want that kind of moniker? But then she assured me, that since she considered herself its opposite back-in-the-day, the tag wasn’t meant as insult, just observation.

    
Of course, I know that it wasn’t merely my literal interpretation of life that left my pen reluctant to scribe. The truth lay more in a self-defense hewn from a risk adverse beginning. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t take chances; I did all the time. I played too much, drove too fast, back-packed solo through Europe, took hang gliding lessons. I often took chances on myself. But rarely on others.

    
I’m better now.

    
Not much.

    
That’s probably why I don’t understand how kids can share so much with so many. On some level, I wish I could. But on another, I wonder if they’re not building themselves up for disappointment that may turn them cynical long before they’re meant to be.

    
How many times, after all, can they put themselves out there unsuccessfully before writing off whole swaths of human interaction? Maybe their walls need not be made of brick, but the structures so many of them have built leave them fully open to elements they may not be prepared to handle. And texting in code is unlikely to prevent overexposure. 

    
Problem is -gauging the measure of risk against reward isn’t easy. People don’t often come with guarantees. Those that claim to are often the ones who come up most sorely lacking. And it’s never a good feeling to be on the other end of an unanswered text with a laid bare message, regardless of the effort to conceal it in code.

    
Me, I’ll take actions over words any day. Weird philosophy for a writer.

    
The people in my own life accept the lack of the BFF and HAK at the bottom of my emails –warm and fuzzy, I’m not. And they’ve probably learned to read a bit into what I don’t say. I don’t say a lot. But at this point in my life, I also don’t make a whole lot of apologies.

    
I have a friend who ends most of our conversations now with I love you, to which I reply in turn. Because I get it. And she gets to remind me with the simple, but powerful sentiment, of what I already know. That in an instant the opportunity to say it can be taken away and that reminding someone you love him isn’t a bad way to say goodbye. Just in case, it’s the last time you can.

    

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Ring of Truth



    They come in the middle of the night. Or in the middle of dinner. Or the middle of the day. Or really, in the middle of nothing. 

    But they linger long after their arrival, filling throats with acid and stomachs with lead.

    Sometimes, they come buffered by expectation.

    The phone rings –and you know.


 


    It was inevitable; you were practically waiting for it.

    But its inevitability rarely makes it any easier. Or maybe it does.

    I’ve gotten both –the expected phone call, the one which comes with its own knowing sigh. Sometimes accompanied by whispers of its blessing.

    And then I’ve received that other type –out of the blue, horrific both in its message and its delivery.
 
    There is no easy way to give bad news, horrible news. Of illness and accident. Of life-altering events. Of life-endings.

    No way to receive those phone calls, either. Silence, disbelief, anger. Grief.

    And the worst of them return to you, with visceral vividness, at the worst of times. Again and again.

    Their memory can be reignited by a glance to a calendar page, a line from a song, the breath of an otherwise gentle breeze. 

    I hate those phone calls. Not only because of the news they bring. Everyone hates bad news. But also, because they hold such power. A ring, the banal tune of a too-chipper ringtone. And then at the other end of the line, awkward phrasing, or incomprehensible utterings choked through tears, or even well-articulated speeches. They all sound the same, the voices usually muted, but the messages blaring.

    In those few minutes, seconds often, everything changes.

    The world is set suddenly atilt, off its axis. Priorities are cataclysmically shifted –forever. Nothing will ever be the same.

    It’s not right and it’s not fair. 

    My friend who probably believes in more than I do asked today –Why do people die too young and why do kids get sick? 

    And she waited for an answer –as if anyone had one.

    It sucks. Way worse than kids. Way worse than all the day-to-day crap in which we all get mired. 

    And often news of it all comes through today’s hyperlinked technology –with lightening speed. In a text message or a Facebook post or an IM or machine message. 

    Or a phone call.

    I hate those phone calls.