In the army, everything is abbreviated. TLAs you call them. Three letter acronyms. You wear them like uniform, body armour, these codes shield you in civvy street. Like PDAs. You only permit displays of affection in public, when they serve you. Then you brandish me like the trophy you still buff, displayed proudly on your cabinet with your last regiment photo. You were already FUBAR by then: fucked up beyond all recognition. This is five words, you remind me, as if I can’t ‘fucking’ count, as if I don’t know the rule of three has been applied rhetorically throughout history by those who like to think they are great orators. As if it is you who has the Oxford degree, not me. I learn quickly rules are meant to be broken, like hearts and dreams and people’s lives. So, when you churn out TLAs as excuses for your behaviour: MOD, POC, FOB, IED, as if you are still at war, they land like shrapnel, and I take cover, to protect myself. Your only concession to any other than three, are the seven Ps. You cling to them as if together they provide the silver bullet. I learn in its absence the meaning of PPE, embrace the less conventional version of KISS. Keep it simple stupid. I am fighting my own war. I unravel these seven letters, now you have gone AWOL. Prior planning and preparation prevent piss poor performance. WTF. Who’s counting? Seven, three, or five. Ours was SNAFU, situation normal, all fucked up.
*You only live once; cf. YODO, you only die once.
Hannah Storm is a journalist and media consultant, specialising in gender and safety. Although she’s been writing since she was a young girl, she’s recently discovered a passion for short stories and flash fiction, thanks to an Arvon course with Vanessa Gebbie and Cynan Jones. Her Twitter handle is @hannahstorm6.