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.

-Youngman Brown

0 thoughts on “LOL

  1. Good point, great post. I wish I could get more useful feedback on my posts, but without being a creepy weirdo and chasing people for specific feedback, it's difficult to do. I think I'll also try leaving more useful comments in future.

  2. I *am* that weird person that will tell someone what line made me “LOL” or inspired me, etc. and then wonder if they think, “gee thanks, like you're some kind of expert”. I just know, I appreciate when someone lets me know. You're right, we've killed LOL.

  3. LOL and LMFAO, actually it's physically impossible to laugh your ass off isn't it? Last thing I knew your mouth and rear end were not connected unless it was someone else's rear end and you were kissing it, but that's a different post…

  4. To me, LOL is the texting equivalent of Tourette's Syndrome. It's a tick, and people say it without really realizing it.

    I try to only use it when I actually laugh… I lol'd at this post, for example, but I didn't LMAO…

  5. Sorry, couldn't resist! LOL < --tehehe I am a lol Nazi. Oftentimes, I go all out and ask people if there are really laughing out loud. I mean you are texting me from church, you mean to tell me that you are laughing out loud in the middle of worship? they respond with a “no, not really.” They then become liars.

  6. I think it's way overused as well. If something really makes me LOL, I say, “I truly LOLed”. I think it's really important to let a writer know how their work made you feel. I didn't LOL at this post. I became introspective. I have LOLed at others of yours before, though. Carry on.

  7. And this is exactly why I NEVER say “lol”. it annoys the hell out of me. I say “haha” when I think something is funny. If I truly have “LOL'd”, I say so. And I agree that it's important to share when you have. Some things are just too funny to ignore.

  8. “txt spk” of any kind gets a big fat zero in my book. That's right. I'm one of those fuddy duddies that spell out every word in my text messages and uses puctuation every time. Obsessive? Maybe…

    However, despite my inherent levels of insanity, you make a good point here. So…well said. 🙂

  9. I rarely use LOL, mostly because I agree it's overused and doesn't often mean what it says. Maybe a new acronym? LOLFR! (laughed out loud for real!)

    Let's try it…I LOLFR at the part where you talked about shouting out to the stand up comedian!

    I love when people point out something specific on my post they liked, whether it was funny, or a certain phrase I used. So I agree, I should be doing that more often for other people. Good point!

  10. I have an aversion to LOL and I always have. Mostly because I always felt like people were lying when they typed it. And don't get me started on ROFLMAO. No. Just no.

    I do like when people tell me they thought something I wrote was hilarious. That's always nice to hear.

  11. I tend to avoid “LOL.” I respond with “haha” most of the time. Not that it necessarily makes a difference, it's essentially the same thing. Though, I never respond with a one-word text. It make me uncomfortable.

    Anyway, I try to at least leave a blogger a comment that lets them know I read the post in its entirety. I hate when I get the “Good job!” posts without any other acknowledgment of the post.

    But, I'll definitely keep this post in mind for future comments because often times a line will make me blow snot out my nose, but I conclude in saying that the post was entirely funny. But, sorry for my rambling, I completely agree with your points and will aim to abide by the challenge you have set forth.

  12. I now have the image of someone standing creepily over my shoulder while I write. Chuckling, groaning, perhaps a tsk here and there. I also imagine me wanting to jam my pen in their throat, but yeah, I probably had too much caffeine today. Thanks for the enjoyable post!

  13. My son overuses 'LOL' in his text messages. He adds LOL at the end of almost everything.

    I do like knowing when someone has really enjoyed my writing. I will try to do the same as well.

  14. Great Post. Funny Post. LOL.

    Here are all new Acronyms, you people can spread them, like the Hipsters you know you are… (though if you're being called a Hipster, its almost as if that is old news and you're no longer a Hipster)

    CTM – Chuckled to Myself
    LI – Laughed Inside (where it counts)
    LAY – Laughing AT You
    MCOOMN – Milk Came Out of My Nose (awkward because I haven't had milk today)

  15. When I go to my blog feed there are millions of posts I scroll past – that I once decided I might be vaguely interested in – just because I really cannot be bothered to read so many many words! But truthfully you are one of the blogs that actually catches my eye.
    This is a true fact. And I know you said that everyone's feedback tends to be: “brilliant. loved it”, I wanted to give some similar feedback that might be a tad bit original.
    But, c'mon. You're blog obviously is brilliant. Look how many readers you've got compared to me! Makes me wonder whether I'm just talking to myself sometimes…
    M. x

  16. oh, and the bit that “made me LOL” in this post was your long spiel about one of the uses of the word “LOL”: “”I acknowledge that you just said something…” etc etc.
    That really did make me LOL. In the old-fashioned sense of the word. In fact…I think LOL once meant “Lots of love”! I've had some bad mistakes in the past with the older generation and that word. I once got a text from my best friends mum saying “sorry, Hannah's really ill. LOL xxx”
    I got a bit confused…
    M. x

  17. The silence of a stand-up crowd. Oh that haunting, deafening silence.

    A very good point well made sir. I have noticed a shift in my creative energy moving from writing to stand-up. Its that instantaneous feedback about what is good, and not having to worry about whether to use a – or a ;

    The downfall to comedy is that you have to have an audience to give you that instantaneous feedback, otherwise you are just that madman in the park talking to yourself. It would help if I shower once in a while, but its how I earn a crust damn-it!

  18. I try to use a specific example if I want the writer to know about a certain line that cracked me up. But you're right, we all should make an effort to do it more often. As such: “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!”

    Serious LOL… SLOL…

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