As a young boy growing up in the southeastern United States, I was, well, quite simply, a nerd. And not the cool kid of nerd you see walking around today with the hipster glasses talking about Star Wars and old-school this or that. No, I was that guy who would sit in a corner during social functions because I was certain that everyone wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. Of course, while stuck in that corner, I would fidget anxiously, wishing I could get back to maintaining my BBS so all of my nerdy friends (whom I would never meet personally, of course) would be able to log into my computer and play the same games they played on every other computer in the local region.
And it was those same BBSes (a precursor to the internet for most folks, in which one would, quite simply, call someone else’s computer and tool around on what basically would amount to a website for extended periods of time. Big note on this: most BBSes were basically the exact same thing.) which gave me my introduction to the shortcuts of talking to people online, more commonly known today as internet slang. Emoticons, ROFLs, and LOLs were flung about from person to person on these little chatrooms that we built up, or the message boards, or usenet or whatever, as a badge of pride that we had this new language all to ourselves. It was the nerdy version of the secret languages twins like to develop between themselves. It was our Ebonics. I thought it was goofy, all the same, but had a lot of fun being introduced to this new way of communicating, as well as attempting to develop new terms that may catch on among the populace (they didn’t).
These may have been used as fun little winks to fellow nerds, but, in all truthfulness, did serve some sort of purpose, at least with things like LOLs or emoticons, as they allowed a person to do in text what they would have been doing if the conversation were happening in person.
Fast forward a few decades and you’ll find that many of those exact same items we bandied about as a secret language have somehow found themselves into the popular vernacular. There’s a certain amount of pride that should probably go into it, but honestly, I think there’s a bit more “that’s our word!” involved.
Most specifically, for me at least, is with the word LOL. I hate LOL. I refuse to LOL. And everytime I see/hear someone else use it, I cringe.
It’s really a stupid thing, to be honest, but there’s just something about these acronym that really gets me at my very core. Today it’s used like candy. People LOL at everything. People LOL in actual spoken conversation! I mean, seriously, if you are, in fact, LOLling, you don’t need to tell me, I should be able to hear it. Otherwise you’re just basically saying, “I’m laughing right now” whenever someone says something you consider moderately amusing. It’s pathetic, and I believe it’s an example of people getting too caught up in trends to truly understand what they are saying when they say it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate being LOLed at. When sometime sends me a message back to something I say in which I was trying to be funny, I love getting some sort of response that people think it’s funny. LOL may be slightly better than a response like: “That was funny.” It has a certain character to it that I can really get behind.
But it’s that supreme overusage of the term that gets my goat and has caused me to refuse to use it.
Now, on the other hand (although I still won’t use it), OMG seems to actually be an all-too-appropriate takeover term. The phrase “Oh my God” has all but lost its meaning in the world today, OMG seems to take it that step further to just turn things into a random meaningless exclamation which has the tendency to make you appear a few IQ points dumber than before you used it (thanks Valley Girls).
So, in short, this is mostly a rant about how the good old days were better, although we all know that for us nerds, that’s entirely not the case. There are many words I refuse to use as an adult, even if I found myself overusing them as a kid (not in public, mind you) because I feel dirty, in some way, utilizing them.
And if you LOL(especially in public), please, OMG, for G’s sake, you had better be actually Ling OL, or at least S(mirking)L(largely), or I may have to come and send the AP(acronym police) after you to tell you that you are a dirty stinkin’ liar.
Okay, random rant of absolutely nothing done with. . . time to get back to writing.
Have a good one!