25 May 2008

God's explosion

Liberians are enamored of acronyms, it seems. Every sign, every store name, every window must be bedecked with an abbreviation, to give it—I can only surmise—a sense of import.

Some of these acronyms are eminently obvious: The International Church of Monrovia, for example, is always referred to by its assistant pastor as "The International Church of Monrovia, or ICM for short" (The fact that the offending appendage does nothing to shorten the sentence seems lost. But what do I know?)

Some, on the other hand, are perfectly superfluous. The John T. Fahme Provision Store has JTF, in parentheses, on its awning. Because, naturally, referring to "JTF" must obviously mean a reference for John T. Fahme. Lucky guy. Similarly, should you ever want to refer to God's Executive Praise, you are reminded that you may do so as GEP.

Some are more cumbersome than the names they abbreviate: Why you'd ever be tempted to refer to the War-Affected Women Employment and Empowerment Programme as WAWEEP is beyond me.

And then there are those the simply ironic. Does, for example, the Hope of Glory Conquerer's Chapel recognize the porcine nature of its acronym? Or is the Amputee Rescue Mission trying to be mean? (I think they might be).

Ah, but then there's my favorite. Because of the disturbing mental image it conjures:

Monrovia from a car window

Consider yourself warned.

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