About six months ago I was reading through an email from an action group and a light bulb went off in my mind. The message encouraged me to support the JUSTICE (Judicious Use of Surveillance Tools in Counter-terrorism Efforts) Act, which I did. But what caught my attention was the acronym. I sat there staring at the screen and wondering just how much time some aide or group of aides squandered on devising the perfect acronym when they could be using their time responding to constituent concerns. Probably a lot. It reminded me of the arduous and bitter process that my graduate school professors went through in choosing a new name for our economics department.
I saw a business opportunity here and decided it was time to act. I’d spent the last ten years working for an insurance company, finding creative ways to deny peoples’ claims. The pay was great and it was fun being on the winning side. But, the hours were long and the job was getting boring. So, I placed an ad in the New York Times seeking a computer programmer. Two weeks later I quit my job and hired Patel, a brilliant MIT Phd who for the last three years had been developing algorithms that priced mysterious derivatives for a Wall Street investment bank. Needless to say, that line of work was drying up. Patel was no great fan of Wall Street and was eager to leave. In our interview he described Wall Street as Las Vegas with better educated people and more expensive drinks.
Patel eagerly hired on to Acronym, Inc. He labored for months, plugging a series of test variables into Acronimity ™, our flagship product. He added one for Seriousness, another for Patriotism, and a third for Wit. At the last minute Patel devised a variable for Populism. We finished up and approached congress with our product. They loved the idea and promised to find money for a demonstration project.
Our trial runs haven’t been as good as expected, but these things always take time. We applied our invention to proposed financial reforms and came up with PAIN (Protecting Absurd Industry Nest eggs) and BROKE (Bankers Receiving Overly Kind Exhortations). We back-burnered that for a while and worked on the healthcare bill. Here our model spit out CANCERS (Competition Avoiding No Change Emergency Room Solutions).
Patel’s still at it, putting in hellish hours and working on a variable for Freedom. He’s getting frustrated and has threatened to quit a number of times. There are rumblings in Congress that our results are poor and our funding should be yanked. But I’m convinced we’re getting closer. I can feel it.