LOS ANGELES, CAâ€”A team of medical researchers at UCLA’s Kennedy Medical Center, headed by Dr. Monroe Marvin, in cooperation with representatives from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, announced last week that a new illness tied to a surplus of acronyms and abbreviations is sweeping the computer enthusiast community.
Dr. Marvin explained that the newly acknowledged syndrome, TAAPS (Technical Acronym and Abbreviation Paralysis Syndrome), has been diagnosed in seventeen states, and has been found to be particularly common in several technology centers in the country, including the Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Austin, and Hoboken.
“The symptoms of TAAPS can easily be mistaken for the regular dazed appearance of your average computer enthusiast,” Marvin explained while pinching the bridge of his nose. “However, a noted lack of response to both pornography and Cheetos has been found to be the primary indicator of TAAPS. Also, there tends to be somewhat more incontinence than usual for these young men.”
Dr. Marvin then presented a blurry videotape showing a pair of youths discussing their computers. The scruffier of the two was bragging, “Well, I just got a new MB with a 1.0 GHz TB O/C’ed to 1.2 GHz, and 512 MB of PC133 SDRAM, not to mention the SB Live, GF2 with 64 MB, and…” The youth then trailed off as drool began to drip liberally from his bottom lip onto his Mountain Dew-stained Eminem shirt.
After stopping the tape, Dr. Marvin was asked what the cause of the syndrome was. Marvin, pointlessly stroking his thin black goatee, replied, “We believe that the source of this syndrome was the media blitz regarding the ‘Y2K Bug’ as the year 2000 approached.” He continued, “We hypothesize that the geeks, uh, I mean computer enthusiasts, rejected the acronym Y2K itself, noting that a ‘K’ usually refers to 1024, so that ‘2K’ would really mean 2048.
After pausing briefly to idly tap his temple, Marvin continued, “Or, they could not let go of the fact that January 1st, 2000 was not the start of the new millennium, as was claimed by every non-geek on the planet.”
“We just don’t know, and several members of the research team don’t even care that much, like Johnson there,” he exclaimed, lazily indicating a short balding man with his jewelry-encrusted left hand.
Dr. Marvin then introduced his colleague Dr. Rupert Mendoza to discuss specific cases of TAAPS. “We have been seeing more and more evidence that sufferers of this syndrome are all over the world and may not even realize they are afflicted. For example, the HardOCP (www.hardocp.com) website displays as its title bar the sentence ‘We don’t even know what the OCP stands for anymore'”, he said. Mendoza, visibly agitated, slammed his fist on the desktop, shouting, “They don’t know, or they can’t think about it without wetting their pants?”
Mendoza then introduced a victim of TAAPS, identified only as Marcel H., who slowly entered the room and spoke quietly. “I’ve been a victim of TAAPS… er”, he said, pausing briefly to take a deep breath, “I mean, Technical Acronym and Abbreviation Paralysis Syndrome, for over a year now, ever since I spent a little too long trying to figure out the channel abbreviations on the DSS… ER DirecTV… ER satellite dish thingy.”
Dr. Marvin then stood again, playfully teasing the curly chest hair coming out of the top of his lab coat, stating, “So far, treatment of the syndrome has required various techniques depending on the severity of the case.” He went on, “Marcel here was brought out of his catatonic state only by the firm clasping of his scrotum by a Welsh barber for eighteen hours.”
Marvin then paused to tenderly slide his hand into the top of his khaki slacks before saying, “We must recommend that potential sufferers limit their exposure of acronyms and abbreviations on a daily basis, or at least pause briefly if they should start to feel dizzy and look at some blank sheets of paper for several hours until the sensation passes.”
Other treatments reportedly include liberal applications of raspberry yogurt to the nipples, and repeated exposure to World War 2 newsreel footage. Reports that viewing lesbian pornography would help the victims were described as “misleading, but good fun, nonetheless.”