Friday, October 26, 2007

Surviving acronym boot camp

Three weeks ago I came to work at Land Line as a copy editor. Having spent the past two years as a medical editor, grappling with acronyms and technical copy, I was relieved to enter the world of trucking. It would be so much easier to read and understand. Oh, how wrong I was.

My first clue was the staff meeting where my new colleagues were talking all about CARB regs. Of course, I thought, carbohydrate regimens are very important. Then we moved on to the DOE, and I was wondering, “Date of Examination for what?” Next someone brought up MVR problems. Which staff member or loved one had needed a Mitral Valve Replacement, and why hadn’t the surgery gone well?

What really threw me was the APU discussion. I quietly asked my boss what Active Peptic Ulceration had to do with anything, but she just looked puzzled and said we were talking about Auxiliary Power Units. And ATC is not Activated T cells. And axles sound like axions, but they’re not at all the same.

As for CB lingo, I was familiar with calcium blockers, but had forgotten the other CBs. I should have known because I lived in Oklahoma from ’76 to ’80. One of the hardest acronyms to learn will be SSRS for Single State Registration System because I have read entire chapters on SSRIs, for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, better known as Prozac or Zoloft. But wait – just now I’ve learned that SSRS has become UCR, which does not involve screening for urinary creatinine concentrations. Sigh.

It’s not just acronyms either. The office talk is throwing me. “Hot shots” are apparently not illegally obtained flu shots. Who knew? And “pull the pin” is not the same as “pull the plug,” thank goodness. And when they were talking about bed buggers, I mentioned that I’d heard New York City hotels were having a real problem with them.

They think I’m strange. I have no idea why, but I’ve been asked to read the “Glossary of Trucking Terms” and not write another blog until I’ve been tested on it.