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Where do you fit in the alphabet soup?

Moseyin’ Along

November 16, 2011
By Joyce Schenk, COLUMNIST
We’ve all learned that today’s kids have developed their own language in order to communicate via texting: LOL — laugh out loud; TTYL — talk to you later; POS — parents over shoulder. Tweets, instant messages, Internet shorthand; whatever you call it, these brief strings of letters have become a language all their own.

But such communication through alphabetic groupings is really nothing new. Through the years, every field of interest from public broadcasting to plumbing, from medicine to the military has developed its own dictionary of short-hand phrases.

The government, especially, has spawned an endless collection of non-words in order to facilitate communication: FBI; ICBM; USAF. Unfortunately, all the alphabetical shorthand has made official documents read like gibberish.

But some of the most useful — and often humorous — entries in the acronym lexicon are the alphabetical designations that have been developed to describe a group of people with similar backgrounds or interests.

The first of these I remember was one that came on the scene some years ago to describe a group of ambitious career folks. The term, “YUPPIE,” denoted Young Upwardly Mobile Professionals.

Following the popularity of that term, other interesting acronyms began popping up to designate special groups of folks. The variety of these terms has become so broad and inclusive that everyone in the country can identify with one or more of the coined names.

For instance, our Atlanta-based pal, Tom, enjoyed proclaiming himself a member of the WOOGOS — Well Off Older Guys, Eating Out. In fact, he and his fellow WOOGOS gathered regularly at their preferred table in the local diner to compare notes and congratulate each other on achieving their unique social status.

Another ever-expanding group is hitting its stride in the current economy. These are the BIDDIES — Baby Boomers in Debt.

The younger segment of society is also included in the list of alphabet titles. Many twenty-somethings can consider themselves FLYERS — Fun-Loving Youth En Route to Success.

Then there are the children of the YUPPY set. They have their own designation as SKIPPIES — School Kids With Income Purchasing Power.

Across the country, there are many mature individuals and couples who have risen above the national down turn. These lucky retirees call themselves MAFFIES — Middle-Aged Affluent Folks.

But chances are, a much larger segment of society fits into the designation MOSSIES — Middle Aged, Over Stressed, Semiaffluent Suburbanites.

And those struggling just to make ends meet can consider themselves DIMPS — Duel Income, Money Problems. Or, for the childless couples out there, the designation might be DINKS — Double Income, No Kids.

As I gathered these descriptive names from various sources, I must admit I started to feel excluded from the “wonderful world of acronyms.” But at last I came across a designation I could call my own. Now I know I’m a part of a bona-fide segment of society with which I share many characteristics.

You see, I realized I am a FRUMP — a Frugal, Responsible Unpretentious Mature Person.

It’s good to know I can take my place in the alphabet soup of today’s society.


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