Internet nerds think they invented cool acronyms, such as OMG, LOL, NIMBY, B4N, IMHO and the rest, including WTF. Not so! This very old ex-Navy guy and all others who served in the past century will immediately understand the graphic meaning of the current Tina Fay movie title words by their initials: WTF.
In the story line, she’s a reporter covering U.S. troops in the Afghan war zone. The military acronym Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is appropriate for the anger, frustration, waste and stupidity that wars inevitably cause. For we who were in any real war, the phrase is all too familiar.
The words are from the military alphabet designated for signaling. They were first introduced in 1913, and today are: alpha, bravo, charlie, delta, echo, foxtrot and all the way through … including tango and whiskey … ending with zulu.
Therefore, as any ex- or current GI, Marine, Airman or Sailor will tell you, WTF has long been exactly: what the fuck! And I can certainly recall many, many moments when I’ve uttered the phrase, both in the military and since. For example, WTFs happened when:
Some WTF suck-up ass-kisser was promoted instead of me.
Assigned WTF deck watch just when, in dress blues, I was prepared to go ashore in San Francisco on liberty.
With my WW2 Navy advance comm unit eating WTF Army K-rations for months on a stinking WTF Pacific isle.
My WTF prof gave me a C- for my brilliant communications essay.
The hottest girl in my college class dumped me for the WTF rich nerd.
The shitty cop gave me a WTF ticket for going 5 miles over the speed limit.
Gasoline at the WTF robbery station spiked from $1 a gallon to WTF $6.
My WTF flight was cancelled due to snow in WTF Saskatchewan.
The guy at the casino WTF slot machine next to me hit the jackpot.
If the two most likely WTF politicians emerge as presidential candidates this year, the agony will cause me to mutter endless WTFs.