Back in the Mesozoic era, when I was substituting at the UES, I saw the writing on the wall. It wasn’t a chalky, cursive scrawl on the blackboard or medicinal dry erase block letters on the white board, but an indecipherable mess of initials that served to alert me, one more time, that I was old and out of the loop.
I was substituting in a sixth-grade language arts classroom for one of my favorite teachers, a true inspiration, Ms. Leeanne Schmidt. The students were writing in their journals. My assignment was to give the journal entries a quick look-see, nothing more. No grammar lessons, no prose suggestions. I was amazed that, in most of the entries, the students were using IMing expressions, like LOL and OMG…expressions that have segued into texting world, now that IMing is passé.
In my dual role as parent and teacher, I remember being appalled by the acronyms, worrying that students would forget how to write without using the now popular all-cap expressions. Since we had a few minutes to kill before the bell rang, I asked the students to put some of their expressions on the board, making sure to remind them that we were in a G-rated environment. We had a lot of fun trying to decipher the acronyms, voting on our favorites and voting down ones we didn’t like. I remember talking to some of the language arts teachers about this new phenomenon, and we all agreed that we hoped it was a passing fad.
In today’s newspaper, there was an article about the OED, which is the mother ship of all acronyms. The Oxford English Dictionary is a 20-volume compendium of the English language. An Internet version was launched in 2000, and was soon getting 2 million hits a month. With so many grammatical errors out there, this is hard to believe, ain’t it?
Unless you’ve been living in the woods behind Roberts School, you know that OMG stands for "Oh My God" and LOL means "Laughing Out Loud." You are probably also familiar with BFF (Best Friend Forever), IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) and TMI (Too Much Information). Once acronyms are included in the prestigious OED, it is safe to say that they’re here to stay.
Besides the BOE and the MEA and C.A.S.A., we here in Mo’town now have the K.I.D.S. Initiative, an attention grabber that everyone needs to know about. Oops! I forgot to mention EDAC, the Economic Development Advisory Committee! Sorry, boys! I haven’t forgotten MYSHA, MYSBA or the other sports acronyms, but I want to focus on the K.I.D.S. Initiative.
Keep Investing and Developing Sports and Recreation (wait a minute! Shouldn’t it actually be KIDSR? Guess that didn’t flow as well) is a well-intentioned group of parents lobbying to pass a $2.7 million bond to put wall-to-wall carpeting on two of the township’s athletic fields. No, they actually just want to put artificial turf down on two infields as well as upgrade several other fields and add an additional turf field at Wesley Bishop. At the Town Council meeting I attended, the K.I.D.S. people had put together a lovely picture book of the ecological disaster that is Wesley Bishop field. Unfortunately, I had left my pictorial history of the deterioration of Memorial Field at home, otherwise I would have pointed out that all of the fields need help, not just a few, and that all of Moorestown’s kids need to be served, not just the ones that can afford to play organized sports.
The K.I.D.S. Initiative passed the first read and will be discussed again on tonight. I urge everyone in town to be there and be heard, because as it stands right now, a very vocal majority is urging Town Council to push this thing through.
I am not LMAO over this one. I am MAHAINGTTIA (see the catch phrase from the movie Network). These are very tough economic times. Our jewel of a town has been degraded by the ongoing Town Hall debacle, which, BTW, has still not been resolved. We have a very unpopular school budget election coming up that, IMHO, is going to have trouble getting passed. And what about the REC center? We have this terrific facility that could be utilized so much more than it is, that is closed most of the time. The kids that need the REC center are not the kids that use the athletic fields. Wouldn’t more programs at the REC center better serve all the kids?
TPTB are zealously trying to paint citizens opposed to this bond issue as not being FTK. Again, this is JMO, but the citizens opposed to this initiative are against it because it a) is not fiscally responsible in this economy and b) does not serve all the children in Moorestown. AFAICS, our taxes go up every year. That seems to be the new reality and we can’t stop it. But we can say no to passing bond issues that we are not ready to support. I know I sound like an OF, but when I was a kid, we were happy to have a field to play on. I don’t remember my parents going to one of my softball games, ever. Peggy, Debbie and I would hook our gloves onto our handlebars and peddle over to the fields across from Green Valley Farms. We would play, perhaps buy a Popsicle then ride home. No parents? No problem. We didn’t expect them to be there. This was a kid’s game.
Well, friends, this is not a kid’s game any longer. FWIW, sports programs in our town are paid for and supported by parents. Right now, there are three councilmen who are very vocally for the K.I.D.S. Initiative and two against. There are also close to 200 comments about this initiative on the Patch, both pro and con.
The best suggestion by far was this: PITAV… Put it To a Vote. Let the people decide whether K.I.D.S. is a keeper or not. In the meantime, if you believe that the fields in Mo’town are “dangerous,” as one parent put it, you best leave the young’uns at home or go to the games AAD (armed and dangerous)!