Have you noticed how many health/medical commercials there are? Medical terms, illnesses, diseases and medications are happily worming their way into our hearts and homes? While we drink our coffee and pop our popcorn, Big Pharm Public Relations firms are bending over backwards to convert physical frailties into friendly little every day terms. “We call it ‘low T’ sounds harmless doesn’t it? Nothing to be afraid of, nothing to be ashamed of, ‘everyone calls it ‘low T.’” Of course they do! Things can be high or low, little or big. That’s just normal everyday stuff right? It’s friendly sounding, like a Big Mac! We call it a ‘Big Mac!’
And have you thought about Overactive Bladder? Personally, no I haven’t but apparently the smiling women in those commercials have. It’s just a friendly little problem that ‘we call OAB’! Really? Who, exactly, is ‘we’? The ubiquitous, omnipresent pronoun that refers to no one in particular and everyone in general! Who is we? The Ladies Auxiliary? Mothers Against Drunk Drivers? The League of Women Voters? Who exactly is walking around talking about OAB? I don’t know about you but the word ‘bladder’ doesn’t tend to crop up much in my conversations. It stays on the periphery of my vocabulary like some other body parts pancreas, spleen and basal ganglia. I don’t talk about them much either. I wish them luck and hope that for both our sakes they refrain from over-activity.
So if indeed you were walking around talking about OAB who do you think would know what you were talking about? Perhaps if that TV commercial runs long enough, everyone will know what OAB means! But why are we referring to our medical problems with cutesy little acronyms? If we need to talk about these disorders why can’t we call them what they are? We use these happy little acronyms like XOXO or OMG! We string a few innocuous letters together and make even the scariest things sound harmless. Everything that could be wrong with us can be reduced to a string of letters we ‘call’ something. How about ‘my head is falling off?!’ Oh, we call that MHIFO! Or maybe ‘My heart just stopped!’ Oh, we call that MHJS!
We can (and do) apply our friendly little acronym formula to other things: how about ‘worldwide nuclear disaster?’ ‘Oh, we call that WND!’ That sounds friendly, right? Pretty even, like ‘Wind’… Easy, breezy WND makes you want to fling open the windows or hang laundry in the fresh air! We’ve been doing this for years with acronyms like USA and IRS but now we’re doing it with things people hardly ever heard of before much less talked about publicly. There is no privacy, no personal boundaries. Do you remember when ‘only her hairdresser knows for sure,’ was a reassuring little slogan? Shhhh! It’s a secret! She gets her hair dyed; it was a comforting, reassuring little secret. Personal and private! Now everyone knows she gets her hair dyed. The receptionist yelling it out across the shop, everyone in the place, everyone walking past on the street! So much for privacy! They not only know she gets her hair dyed, they know she has OAB and her husband has Low T, and her sister-in-law has HBP, her nephew has ADHD and her grandmother had RA. And if she didn’t confide in them, they overheard her yapping about it on her cell phone! Seriously? I’m ROTFLMAO!