Brevity and the beast by Madhura Thatte

Playing Dead by D. Arthur
June 3, 2018
Two Stories by Michael Brierley
June 5, 2018

It was too late by the time they diagnosed me. I never saw it coming; I did not even notice the symptoms. I now only have a few thousand left, and soon, even those will shed like the autumn fall.

I guess I first began losing my words a couple of years ago. The big ones were the first to go. Sometimes they disappeared from the tip of my tongue, never to return again. It seemed to be happening to everyone around me, but of course no one realized it. That is, until a famous writer was trolled for using the brief but eloquent word ‘BRB’ in the middle of a live chat. Investigations were carried out, revealing that this was indeed a serious problem that was spreading through the masses like a raging wildfire.

Word Loss Disorder. That was the official name given to this widespread phenomenon. It is now simply called the WLD, since patients at a more advanced stage of the disorder were unable to remember all three words in a continuous string.

The doctors told me I am currently at stage two, and fast progressing to stage three. I hear that people at stage four only communicate through emoticons, gifs, memes and the occasional ‘LOL’. They also post pictures that speak a thousand words each.

Rumoured to have begun with a virus inserted into a popular social media network, WLD sparked off a series of controversies and protest marches. While the writer / journalist / lawyer type people were severely agitated and demanded a cure, teenagers began marching in streets with slogans that declared ‘Brevity is the new slang’ or ‘We don’t need big words, we ain’t a bunch of nerds.’ Apparently, the power to rhyme was untouched by the disorder.

Eventually, WLD claimed almost everyone as its wordless victims. The internet is now bursting with a new language that contains abbreviations which are easier to retain than the shades and nuances of the beastly English language. I still have occasional urges to write a full-length article instead of a tweet, or an entire paragraph instead of a quote for Instagram. But they told me this was only natural, and even established writers all over the globe have already started to adopt short forms

I am now trying to memorize the new slang, before I lose all my words, lest I end up flailing my arms and making mute sounds while trying to communicate with another human. I can almost picture my English professor weeping in his grave at the victory of… ah, I had the word right here – it begins with a ‘col’, and I’m pretty sure there’s a ‘q’ in there – colloquialism, yes that’s it – at the victory of colloquialism.


Madhura Thatte is a Chartered Accountant based in India. She worked in international tax and transfer pricing with a media / journalism company, until she succumbed to literary fantasies and began working as a freelance writer. She writes short stories, poetry and travel blogs which have been published on various platforms. She is an obsessive bibliophile that devours books by night. She considers herself an analogue gal and can be heard complaining of technology takeover and the impending robocalypse over many, many cups of coffee. Her writing first emerged as a blob on the internet – a blog started by her alter ego, Miss Moody. She now harbours dreams of writing and traveling full time and also plans to write a novel.