When chatting, texting, e-mailing, I have noticed that I say “LOL” quite often.
Of course, I am not actually laughing out loud. If I laughed out loud to my friend typing the words, “I burnt my meatloaf today,” you would think that there is something wrong with me. That I have no life, perhaps. And that simply thinking about my friend burning his dinner packs enough comedic punch for rhythmic, vocalized, expiratory and involuntary actions to escape my throat in laughter.
In reality, we have bastardized this acronym, using it as more of a conversation extender, a cheating response to something that was most likely not that funny. Or possibly awkward.
For example, let’s pretend Mark just texted Tim, saying “i love rachel and everything, but if I ever cheated on her it would be with that new secretary. damn shes hawt!”
In response, Tim says, “lol.”
The “lol” is inserted as a placeholder before Tim can say “Did you see that pathetic Eagles game today?”
What the “lol” really says is, “I acknowledge that you just said something, but don’t quite feel comfortable responding with an actual statement, as I feel that it would somehow implicate me in your potential infidelity. Furthermore, by simply saying “lol,” I am passively denying the fact that I think that you are serious. This, so that I don’t have to get into a sticky situation. When you feel as if you are ready to explicitly come out and tell me that you are cheating on your wife and ask for my advice, then I will proceed accordingly with a response other than ‘lol.'”
And that is just one example of the way in which LOL has been degraded to be a response to basically anything.
Though to be fair, I really don’t think that people were actually rolling on the floor and laughing their asses off during the earliest days of Internet chat.
So yea. LOL might be insignificant.
But I still hold it in high regard.
A friend of mine recently started a blog, and I mentioned to her that one of the things she wrote specifically “made me LOL.” When critiquing another writer’s work, especially one that is attempting to be humorous, this is the nicest thing that anyone can say. Or at least it is the one statement that makes me feel the best (and even tickles my brain a bit).
My favorite professor in college told us, “making somebody actually physically laugh with your writing is one of the hardest things to do, and if you are able to do it, make damn sure that you keep that line in the writing.”
That’s one of the things that kinda sucks about writing, though. A stand-up comedian, for example, gets to hear the audience’s reaction. He gets to hear which jokes get laughter, which get silence, and which get uproar. He can mold his craft according to what works and what doesn’t, and he can even do it on the fly, within the context of one set.
But writers don’t have this luxury. We don’t get to watch our readers as they read our narratives and gauge their reactions for what is working and what is not.
Unless we ask someone to critique our work, we are not going to really know what tickles someone’s fancy (or brain) or conversely what makes them want to vomit. And even then, we need to get someone we really trust to be honest, because most people will simply say, “it was awesome, I loved it.”
Though some readers might comment with specific lines, most comments we might receive are typically a general “great post” or “funny post.”
And even if we were to creepily stand behind someone as they read our writing, the only true physical reaction that the reader can offer is that of laughing-out-loud.
So that is why I am going to make a concerted effort to tell my fellow bloggers when something on their blog made me LOL. Like a dork, I am going to specifically quote the line or phrase that made me LOL and let them know.
Because they should know.
If their written words were crafted in an elegantly humorous way enough to force my brain to make me involuntarily laugh, then I think that they are entitled to know the specific line that was successful.
Perhaps I will even try doing the same thing at the next comedy show that I attend. If the comedian says something that really made me giggle, I will wait until the laughter dies down and then just scream at the top of my lungs, “I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW THAT I FOUND THAT LAST JOKE THAT YOU SAID TO BE VERY FUNNY AND IT MADE ME LOL!”
Though maybe I’ll just stick to commenting on other blogs for now.
But until then, BRB.