I remember the email like it was yesterday. The subject line was brief: "Does anyone have AA batteries? (EOM)" I figured that EOM AA batteries were a specific category and something that I, a normal-battery-user (non-EOM), most likely did not possess.
I opened the email anyway, but the body was mysteriously empty of any peppy explanation along the lines of, "I need them for my flashlight! Thanks!" An inkling of understanding crept in, and a Google search confirmed the link between the trio of mysterious letters and the empty message body.
EOM means End of Message, and it is a courteous acronym to be used in just such a case. In a world of overflowing inboxes, people don't care these days what device you plan to power your AA batteries with, or who baked the "Oatmeal raisin cookies in the lounge! (EOM)" In this way, the sender conveniently unburdens you of the need to open the email.
Plus, this acronym provides the fun opportunity to actually put text and/or images in the body of your email with impunity. Do you have a really hilarious video of a hedgehog that you've been too shy to share with the entire office? Do it. Just be sure to include it in an email with a totally innocuous subject line.
"Can I borrow somebody's stapler? (EOM)." People unaware of modern Internet acronyms will open this email. BOOM. Hedgehogs. Five minutes of unproductivity for everyone involved. And in this way, the defense "I said EOM" becomes the adult version of "I said no offense."
Another one of these great time-saving acronyms is tl;dr. This means, "Too Long; Didn't Read." Apparently, tl;dr originated in online discussion forums as a way for users to aggressively respond to posts deemed unnecessarily long or preachy. Yet from these hostile beginnings, the acronym has blossomed. Now, it occasionally takes on a nicer tone, in which self-aware users invoke the phrase at the end of their own long message. This is then followed by a highly truncated and very convenient summary of their main points.
If, for example, a vague acquaintance sends out a mass email about his or her travels across Europe, the possibility exists that you will not care about the names of every cathedral visited.
In such a case, scan the bottom of the page and hope that those four letters are there.
tl;dr: Barcelona is so awesome, got robbed in Italy, now I have a French boyfriend.
Likewise, if I happen to send out a Christmas card with an accompanying mini-essay about the state of everyone in my family and the plethora of activities they are all involved in, there will no doubt be a self-invocation of tl;dr at the end.
tl;dr: Bobby's Little League team is good, Lily loves drawing pictures of dragons and Rob is doing swell in the refrigeration business. Merry X-Mas!
My final favorite acronyms do not appear to be catching on in the same way that EOM and tl;dr are. As far as I can tell, the terms GC (General Consumption) and NGC (Not for General Consumption) are confined to specific college co-op communities, usually used to label and differentiate between personal food and communal leftovers.
As fun as it is being privy to insider lingo, I have to admit that the exclusivity of these terms is a darn shame. Especially because their usefulness extends far beyond the food world. Unclaimed bikes, mattresses and articles of clothing can all be referred to as GC. Entertaining statements on empowerment and owning one's own body can be achieved via emblazoning articles of clothing with the letters NGC.
Potential response: "I am an upstanding adult who does not live in a commune or share clothes with friends. This does not apply to me." Wrong.
Labeling food as GC/NGC is practical whether you live with 50 housemates, a couple of friends, or two kids and a dog. You can stick a GC label on that cup of pens in your office that everyone uses. You can put a NGC label on that detergent you keep by the washing machine in your apartment complex.
So, in conclusion ...
Forget it. See below.
tl;dr: Acronyms are fun, courteous, and make life easier. Use them. (EOM)
Katie Brigham is a photo and multimedia intern with the Post-Gazette. She occasionally writes things, too. Let her know what acronyms you enjoy at email@example.com. First Published August 4, 2013 12:00 AM