How others really see us – Some surprising facts

It’s no secret that institutions develop their own language in the interests of time and confidentiality. Restaurant staff use various terms to describe their customers, sometimes derogatory, occasionally complimentary. So, when next in your favourite restaurant consider how you’re maybe being described.

While lots of regular customers are referred to by what they regularly order or their idiosyncrasies (for example, “Extra garlic”, “Doggie-bag lady”, “Lousy tipper”), “PIA” is code for “Pain in the **** ”, “HAF” means “Had a Few” and “FF” in the reservation book against your name means you’re “F***ing Fussy”. Oops!

Doctors too have their codes. While a “GLM” is a “good looking mum” with “GLL” (“great looking legs”) and an “FLK” a “funny looking kid”, a “TBP” is a “total bloody pain”, a “GPO” is “good for parts only” and “TEETH” is “Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy”. Plus cases that are “LOB” (“load of b*****ks”) and individuals who are “TF Bundy” (“totally f***ed but unfortunately not dead yet”).

“Digging for Worms” is varicose vein surgery, the “Departure Lounge” the geriatric ward while “Handbag Positive” is a confused patient (usually elderly lady) lying on a hospital bed clutching a handbag.

While the most common call-out for ambulance services is to elderly ladies who’ve fallen over (a “nan-down”) and the special ambulances used to transport obese patients are “fat trucks”, regular visitors to A&E on Friday/Saturday nights are also classified. “UBI” is an “Unexplained Beer Injury”, a “PFO” a drunken patient who’s injured himself falling over, while a “PGT” “Got Thumped” instead. One doctor ending up in court had to explain “TTFO” (“Told To F*** off”). Fortunately, he came out with: “To take fluids orally”. Oops again!

Call centres have similar codes for their technical helplines. A blatantly obvious query is categorised as an “RTFM on line 1”- code for “Read The F***ing Manual”. Which reminds me of a similar code used in East Anglia hospitals until fairly recently: “NFN” or “Normal for Norfolk”.

Finally, as for “B” (Brexit) Day, anyone know when this will be? Anyone got a clue?                                         

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘Betrayal’, ‘The Girl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ ( available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.99;£0.99) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.   

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Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.