ACK-ronyms by Rebecca Willman Gernon

dandelions.jpgIn the past ten years, acronyms have sprouted up quicker than weeds in my front yard. I find this annoying. Both the weeds and the acronyms.

For many years, the government was the primary source of theses nonsensical terms. In an effort to bamboozle the public, politicians and federal agents tossed out acronyms like beads at a Mardi Gras parade.

Like the weeds that have embedded themselves in my lawn, acronyacronymsms have weaseled their way into the English language and have no intention of leaving. Some acronyms have even become words, like radar, lasik, and laser, but Webster’s Dictionary is no help in discovering what NTSB,  NYSE, ADA, GNP, ICBM and LPTV mean.

After a several months of use, acronyms take on a life of their own. Few people can tell you what the letters OSHA represent, but almost everyone knows “Oh-Shaw” can make a small businessman’s life a nightmare. Same goes for the ACLU, who from what I read protects one person’s rights at the expense of someone else’s.

Another bad example is the Individual Retirement Account (IRA). First pronounced I-R-A, but soon it became an Ira. My broker told me the other day, “Get an Ira.” I went to high school with a guy named Ira Paul Rulla. I don’t think that’s what he meant.

geekA month ago my computer, an aging dinosaur in the rapidly changing world of technology, refused to plod along at any speed. I dreaded visiting the You Better Buy It Now mega-computer store where every clerk is younger than twenty-three and speaks serious techno-geek, a language foreign to me.

“How much RAM do you want? You’ll need a CD burner. What’s your current CPU? How many Gigs? Who’s your ISP?” The dunce cap he gave me fit perfectly.

RX side effects
If you want to experience the granddaddy of acronym usage, watch a few pharmaceutical commercials on TV. I’ve come to the conclusion every disease known to mankind can be reduced to two or three letters. People suffer with COPD, MS, TB, TIA, ADD, ADDL, ARD, and ADHD to name a few. I have no idea what these hideous ailments are, but per the commercials, a miracle drug, with enough side effects to drop a moose, will cure them.

viagraNothing is scared anymore. A few years ago a well-known politician beamed into the camera and told the world  he suffers from ED (Erectile Dysfunction.) I’m not as old as he is, but he ought to know better.

When I was in high school, which was shortly after the stone age, matters like this would never have been discussed. For heaven’s sake, it was still considered shameful for a young girl to have a baby before she was married. Polite people did not use the word pregnant, we said, “She’s PG.” What a U-turn we’ve made in our language. Now five year olds squeal, “Mommy’s pregnant.” I suppose referring to someone being PG went out of fashion, about the time the motion picture industry started using PG as a movie rating.



Gardening in Louisiana

flooded lawnSouth Louisiana is swampy by nature, but enough is enough. This year, in less than three hours, our yard shifted from rock- hard clay yard begging for water to a squishy lawn with two inches of standing water. Neither of these conditions adversely effects the weeds.
I read recently that certain weeds sprays can cause cancer. I guess that notice is for me,

dollar weed
Curse of Dollar Weed

not the plants because I can tell you for a fact that full strength Roundup has no effect on trumpet vines and limited to no effect on the ‘curse of the South’. . . dollar weed.  (Thankfully I don’t live where kudzu is a problem, but I’m sure it is another curse.)

A friend of mine told me he had bought MOAP (Mother of All Poisons) to stunt the weeds in his yard. I’m waiting for his report on effectiveness.  If this fails, I am will purchase a small flame thrower.
I read a clever saying on Facebook the other day. (Yes, occasionally someone posts something worth reading.)
 If you try to grow it and it dies, it’s a plant.
 If you try to kill it and it grows, it’s a weed.
Story of my life. The list of my dead, dying, or suffering plants include:dead tree
Camellia, oleander, hydrangea, squash, tomatoes, painted ferns, Bradford pear trees, zinnias,  orange tree, Encore azaleas, and lantana.
Unwanted Successes are:  Volunteer trumpet vines that I can’t kill, dollar weed, and torpedo grass. I’ve read that torpedo grass is so named because of the shape of its blade. I think it is because torpedoes have no effect on it.
Sadly the things that are growing well in my yard frighten me. bambooThe clump bamboo that was four feet high three years ago is now more than 12 feet high and about as wide. If it creeps any closer to the house, I’ll have to hire lumberjacks to keep it at bay.  The three scraggly wandering Jew plants I shoved in the ground under a window, now cover six square feet. With my luck they will push our wandering jewhouse off the slab giving the termites a chance to Swiss cheese our house.
Bugs, heat, weather, and humidity make gardening here a challenge. I’m excited to go to my yard to pick flowers, less so when it comes to pulling weeds. Would I give up having a yard? Not a chance, but there are days it not only gets the best of me but the worst of me also.