In the lingo of life, `PG' fits right in

Abbreviation: Don't know why those folks are so cranky about their county's nickname. After all, it could be worse.

May 12, 2000

To: PG (Prince George's) County Officials

From: RH (Rob Hiaasen) in BC (Baltimore city)

Date: 2000 A.D. (Anno Domini)

On the one hand (say, the left hand), you guys make a good point.

You don't want people calling Prince George's County by the nickname, "PG County." It's unbecoming, disrespectful, flippant and dismissive, purists continue to argue in the proud name of Prince George's. It would be like calling our newspaper simply "BS" for The Baltimore Sun. "Hey," someone could say, "did you read that BS today?" Or, "I'm calling to say I didn't get my BS this morning."

On the other hand (the right one), this debate seems like an NI (non-issue).

It's not as if people are calling your county "NC-17 County" or even "PG-13 County." Kids are still permitted in your county; they just need parental guidance. Be thankful civic rogues haven't shortened your name another notch. Try attracting new business to "P County."

If "PG" is excised from all public record and speech, consider the potential precedent. Soon, no one will dare slip and refer to our great country as merely the "U.S." And forget about "D.C." That's the District of Columbia to you, pal.

In fact, all routine conversation would be halted at nickname check-points.

Wrong: "How many RBIs did Belle get last night?"

Right: "How many runs-batted-in did Mr. Albert Belle achieve during last night's baseball contest?"

Wrong: "Want my AOL address?"

Right: "If it's not too forward of me, would you care to exchange electronic mail addresses from our respective accounts from America Online?"

Wrong: "Who will Gore's VP be in '00?"

Right: "In this 2000 presidential election year, who do political observers think will be chosen to run as Mr. Gore's vice presidential running mate?"

Very wrong: "BFD."

Right: "I listened intently to what you said and have every respect for your opinion, but at this time I must defer my personal interest."

Wrong: "P.S.: Lighten up."

Right: "Postscript: "Prince George's County" is indeed an elegant and sophisticated name. Stand tall and let no foe cheapen it.

But could you county guys consider doing something about that damn apostrophe-S?

Just a thought,

RH

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