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My South: A is for abbreviations

June 4th, 2014 · 3 Comments

The letter A could – and does – stand for so many things. Perhaps this is because its position at the head of the alphabet lends to its overuse by the lazy and unadventurous. In the greater Birmingham area, this denominating slothfulness is on horrifying display in the Yellow Pages, where the clumping of A’s at the front of one’s business name may get you at the top of the list, but at what expense to your credibility? Scrutinize these:

  • AAA AAA Branch Offices (NOT the American Automobile Association)
  • Aaa-A Abama Departments
  • A Alcohaaaaal A&A Abuse 24 Hour AAAA Able (easily my favorite)

When I purchased my little home over twenty years ago and needed the wood floors repaired and refinished, I hired a company called “A Beautiful Flooring.” (Cheesy name but, hey, they were recommended by a neighbor!) I recall asking the owner of the company for his card and being told: “You don’t need a card, just open the phonebook and we’re the first entry under flooring!” That’s likely no longer true, as “A AAA Flooring” (not their real name) has possibly knocked them from that perch.

Furthermore, the number of businesses seeming to feel that they are the chosen business of their kind in the state of Alabama has mushroomed, if the use of the prefix “Ala” is any indication. We have

  • Alagasco (who are, indeed, everywhere and, thus, “chosen” by thousands)
  • AlaData Mobile Computer Repair
  • AlaMedicare Plans
  • AlaLawn Landscape Design
  • AlaTemp Corporation
  • AlaTrust Credit Union
  • AlaScribe Transcription Services

That list could go on for pages.

Even the name of this state suffers from an overuse of A’s: four of the seven letters in “Alabama” are the same. A shortening to simply “Albm” would free up a countless supply of “A” triplets that could lead to a restoration of the state’s sorely-depleted ink supply and provide a letter trove to restore the ubiquitous
to its former glory as the chant of Alabama football: “Roll Tide Roll.”

But who am I kidding? No one around here wants to write that many characters.

Tags: My South: A to Z

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chris // Jun 5, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Far too many A’s. Nobody’s gone for A-1 yet? We have some of those in the phonebooks here.

  • 2 Carolyn // Jun 15, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    John Shelton Reed, who was for many years a sociology professor at UNC, used to research phone books to determine the ratio of ‘Southern’ to ‘American’ at the start of business names; the results mapped beautifully to the kudzu zone.

  • 3 spitballarmy // Jun 19, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    Chris – A-1’s. Oh, yes, they’re there.

    Carolyn – That makes sense to me!

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