Honestly, this is mostly about nicknames. But there's a good reason to avoid re-appropriating acronyms, too. I'll get to that in a minute.
There are two nicknames that mean something very specific to me:
- The Fab Five
Anyone who was a teenager before 1996 will tell you that LT redefined the linebacker position for the Giants. Those same people will also tell you that the Fab Five always wore navy and maize. And often rocked black socks and bald heads, too.
LT is not Ladainian Tomlinson. LT is Lawrence Taylor.
The Fab Five are not Carson, Jai, Kyan, Ted and Thom. The Fab Five are Jalen, Chris, Juwan, Jimmy and Ray.
The first one is obviously more egregious than the second one. You just don't give a guy a nickname that has already been claimed by one of the greatest competitors in the sport he plays. It doesn't matter than no one other than his mama can pronounce his real name. That's lazier than it is effed up.
The second one might make a little more sense as the five members of the University of Michigan's 1991-92 freshman class held down a vastly different job than did the five queer style experts. That one is lazy and grossly unoriginal. The real Fab Five took their moniker as a play on a nickname for the Beatles, which was terrifically appropriate and mildly clever. The Queer Eyed-guys...well...being gay doesn't extend special privileges to you where words like "fabulous" are concerned. 'Specially when a nickname has already been claimed.
Once a nickname has been established within the popular lexicon, it's no longer available for public consumption. You, and everyone who wishes to refer to you, are gonna have to knock your heads together and think of something else. Simple and plain.
There is a shining example of why this rule should be heeded.
Everyone in America--and probably a lot of people who are trying to get into the country--knows that DMV is the place you go to get your driver's license.
Everyone, that is, except for some idiot(s) at a radio station in DC, WKYS 93.9.
Generally, that station is pretty cool. Not listen-to-it-all-day-every-day-cool, but cool no less. Recently, though, they've taken to referring to the metropolitan area that includes Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland as the DMV.
Nevermind that most folks in that area simply call it "The Area." Some genius at WKYS decided that DMV was a better way to describe it.
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when an afternoon drive personality invited listeners to call in and talk about what was happening in the DMV. The very first caller launched into a tirade about the trauma he recently endured trying to register his car. Dumbfounded, the personality allowed him to tell the story and informed the caller that they weren't looking for stories about that DMV. To which, the caller replied, "That's stupid. Everybody already know what DMV means."
Which, ladies and not-so-gentle-men, is precisely the point:
Everyone already knows what some nicknames (or acronyms) signify. If you plan to be famous, cross those ones off your list of choices and get your own shit.