Life through a different lens

Sunday, December 20, 2009



(repost, because it's just that important)

LOL is played out. It’s as fresh as a faded ABBA tramp stamp on a bikini clad, 70-year old sporting a raging case of eczema. It’s time LOL goes the way of parachute pants and disco. Personally, I despise the acronym. Never liked it and I can’t help but feel a bit dirty when I see it. The astounding overuse, ignorant misuse, and the ridiculous lack of imagination is overwhelming. Many feel the same way and some LOL enthusiasts have begun to smell the decay. Time to bury the rotting corpse.


In case you’re a geriatric caveman, L.O.L. is an abbreviation (commonly written lol) that supposedly stands for laugh out loud or laughing out loud. It’s used heavily in social networking and will occasionally find it’s way into verbal conversation and various pop culture mediums. The intended usage of LOL is to express to another person that they wrote something funny. I’m certain that the LOL inventor (Al Gore perhaps?) is abundantly pleased with its evolution and prevalence in society.


Common practice is to write LOL in lower case letters, minus the periods that commonly denote an abbreviation. It awkwardly looks like a typo or an attempt at obscure verbiage. Consequently, when I see “lol” it reads audibly like a dirty, guttural word mixed between foul and pole. In my head it sounds like “Law-ull,” which conjures the sense of vomiting into one’s own mouth. Frequently, LOL is used alone, and to begin or end a sentence. It’s a reflexive insert akin to nervous laughter. You’ll find it thrown in to any random comment and it either comes off as mistaken punctuation or a command. LOL is used as an obligatory conclusion to nearly any statement. For example, it would not be shocking to see, “Sorry you broke your arm, LOL.” It’s ridiculously overused, misused, and abused, so that when something funny is actually said, the acronym has absolutely no meaning / credibility.

LOL proponents – what they say and why that’s crap

It’s cute and harmless

I won’t argue for or against a cuteness factor, but the assertion that LOL is harmless is crap. It’s a dumbed down version of an actual compliment. Compliments are inherently meant to reward a positive behavior or status. LOL is instead akin to annoying filler in casual conversation – like “ummmm,” “You know,” or Obama’s “Aaaaaand.” But in the case of LOL, it’s worse than meaningless. You don’t smack a dog for peeing in the right spot. (Hopefully you don’t smack your dog period). So why would you verbally smack your friend for saying something funny? Rather than issuing a dismissive “compliment,” how about exerting the energy to share something meaningful with the writer. Save LOL for knock, knock jokes.

It’s simple – a time saving way to say props

Brevity is nice. You can save time, disguise poor writing skills, and cleverly escape having nothing to say. I’m even fond of a smart acronym now and again. But weigh that second or two savings against the message you’re really sending to the humorous author. Is it worth it? I say no. Furthermore, among my problems with LOL is that although it might be marginally quicker to type, it actually costs more time to read. There are as many syllables when pronouncing the letters as the words.

this is a safe way to convey, “i’m Just joking.”

It’s a shame that we all don’t have thicker skin and/or can just assume that everything is said in jest. But, I get the apprehension. However, LOL is not a suitable replacement for “Just Joking.” LOL used in this case is like saying, “Here’s my joke. Now you need to laugh out loud.” That’s out of line. I don’t want to be told to laugh. Did you ever hear Seinfeld complete a joke by saying, “Start laughing now?” As weak as it is, I would be more receptive to “Just joking/kidding.” A tip to aspiring comedians – if you have to command your audience to laugh, the joke may not be funny. And if it is funny, an added LOL reeks of insecurity. Call me old fashioned, but I feel like comedy should be viable minus the “just kidding” tag. You have to commit to your joke, and if it’s not recognized as funny, then either you’re not being funny, or you need to modify you audience.

More expressive than the smiley face :)

Who says the smiley face is a valid expression? “Emoticons” sort of replace nonverbal cues that are otherwise unavailable via computer. But the validity of the smiley face or other expressive crap is not my battle. Let’s just say LOL is not an improvement. At least the smiley faces and tongue sticking out crap took some thought to create.


Do we really need an acronym to say – “props, you’re funny?” How about just doing the writer a solid by typing out a meaningful response. “Thanks for making me laugh” may be way less cutesy, but I know I would appreciate the extra few seconds of effort. I estimate that it’s about a 3 second difference if you are even slightly familiar with a keyboard.

But if you’re desperate to dwell in the land of the cutesy acronym, at least try something fresh now and again. If you need a nudge in that direction, off the top of my head here’s a list of fresh candidates.

GAC = Giggling and crying; GAS = Giggling and snorting; SAS = Snickering and slobbering; FDL = Fall down laughing; FH = Friggin hilarious; JJ – Just Joking; JK – Just Kidding (or short for Joke).

If none of these suit you, then feel free to experiment with any acronym combo of the following words. Add an adjective and perhaps a preposition and you’re in business.

Laugh, Hysterical, Guffaw, Chortle, Snort, Snicker, Giggle, Chuckle, Cackle

I’m certainly not prepared to endorse any of these. Eventually, any stand-in would land in the pile of overused crap. But for now, I’m thrilled with the progress of exterminating LOL, so go nuts.

It’s a real word

An acceptable argument if you’re Dutch or Welsh. In this case, you can keep it. Just surround it with a bunch of other Dutch or Welsh words.


If you join the cause to end LOL, it is your responsibility to call out abusers. It’s not necessary to be nasty or crude. Certainly, the worst abusers may need a little more aggressive approach. But, my suggestion would be to start with a gentle note on your FB page – “lol not welcome here,” or “Kill LOL,” or “LOL sucks,” etc. Couple this with a note following any lol posts – “Dude, don’t lol me,” or “don’t lol me and I won’t fart on you,” etc. And here’s the trump card – whenever you see a stray lol and you aren’t worried about alienating a family member or pissing off your boss, post the word – “fail” after it.

If you respectfully agree to disagree, then so be it. I can accommodate a world where people still think the Earth is flat. And yes, we can still be friends. Does it mean I will respect you less for using LOL? Well don’t put the cart before the horse. You’re making the assumption that I respected you in the first place. (If it makes you more comfortable, insert a smiley face emoticon here.) I would bust your chops for dying your hair pink too, but a couple ridiculous choices don’t define the totality of your character. Pink hair and LOL are just bits of evidence in the overall picture. Hopefully you bring enough to the table to overcome those shortcomings.

Laugh out loud, guffaw, snort, and giggle all you want. Nobody is saying end humor. What I’m saying is end dismissive, meaningless filler. If your friend says something funny, that’s like ear candy. How about you return the favor by saying something substantive, instead of sending a lazy LOL, which is the verbal equivalent of a greasy terd in the mouth.


  1. I could not agree more, my friend. I googled the phrase "lol must die" and came across this post. I hate hate hate it. And yet I have nobody to rant with because most of my friends use the blasted thing (I've gently tried a few of your "Now What" suggestions in the past to no avail (willing to try again, though)).

    As a side note, you might want to rethink the "parachute pants and disco" analogy, as both of those are coming back in a major way. We wouldn't want people to think that they should also revamp their use of our commonly hated acronym, now would we? Cheers!

  2. Hi I have started a facebook group! Please join and spread your good word!!