I think I’ve found a community of folks here with whom I feel comfortable. And although it takes time, I’m emerging as a member of this community. I’ve met many of these folks through their respective BlogTalkRadio shows, I’ve responded to comments on other people’s blogs, and I’ve even done a “50 Things About Me” exchange with another member of this community. But I’m still new here, and it’s likely that you have some curiosities about me.
One question which is probably on the forefront of your minds:
Shiny — you seem to think that you’re really funny. Hilarious, in fact. But in all reality? Your humor is sub-par at best. What’s up with that?
It’s a truly valid question. I like to think that I have a wonderful sense of humor and that I can make people laugh at the drop of a hat. We all know, however, that it’s not necessarily true. People have different philosophies as to what is funny. People’s moods have an effect on their likelihood to burst out in laughter. What one person finds funny another may find offensive.
But in my case, my sense of “what do people find funny” does not exist. My inner voice distinguishing what’s humorous or not has faded like an important receipt which has spent three weeks in a wallet. To me, I’m the funniest guy on the planet. But others often see that I’m only a step above Jim Belushi. And I blame the internet for this inability.
Instant messaging, to be more specific.
You see, I’m a quick typist. And I can come up with something witty in a matter of moments when I see it on the screen in front of me. And instead of having to make eye contact to determine whether or not something in funny, there’s an almost instantaneous response I’ll get. Someone will send me an “LOL” — indicating that s/he is “laughing out loud.” That’s a nice feeling. Sometimes I’ll see an “LMAO” — someone is “laughing my ass off.” Even better! It’s this verbal validation which, at the advent of this technology, has swollen my head and ego to a ginormous size.
The thing is? I usually won’t use these acronyms. If I think something is funny, I’ll usually reply with a “hehe.” If something is witty and noteworthy, but not ha-ha funny, it gets a “heh.” there are occasions in which I’ll literally “laugh out loud,” and I’ll acknowledge that with an LOL when the time is right. But LMAO? No. It’s still big and attached. And since the beginning of my experience instant messaging — which was about 16 years ago — I don’t think I’ve ever ROFL. At least not from something I’ve read. Perhaps it’s because I’m too lazy.
But the notion that someone can actually read a blog or forum post and “ROFLMAO?” And then find the impetus to document the ROF and the LMAO for the sake of the person who made the witty comment? That person must really be talented.
The problem is that people use these acronyms far too much. The intellectual market is being flooded with these compliments to the point of deflation. The true value of an LOL is collapsing when people are using it simply as the acknowledgment of a joke, and there are those who don’t realize that they’re in the midst of a humor recession and keep on hemorrhaging wit which isn’t really that funny. Case in point: me.
Just today I had the following instant chat with my supervisor. The names are changed because — well, top-secret work stuff:
My “casual boss” shares an office not so far away from where I sit. His door was open at the time of the exchange. And he shares an office with a real ass-clown who will glare at you when he’s on the phone and you dare make a noise akin to dropping a pencil. Yet — he found it funny enough to LOL.
The thing is? It wasn’t funny. It was simple sarcasm. And a poor example of it. “Big shocker there.” I could have summed it up by simply using “Shocker…”
And then the next line! Not only was this only as humorous as one of the more dramatic-than-serious episodes of The George Lopez Show, but the subject and possessive article don’t even match! Yet I was rewarded with him laughing his ass off. And likely getting that same ass chewed out by his office-mate.
I propose that we stop using these acronyms unless we really agree with the action described. There’s no reason we can’t develop new acronyms such as:
CTM chuckling to myself
AAJ “Ah! A joke!” It’s at least some acknowledgment
GOD “Good one, Dad!” Dads seem to have the best jokes from several decades ago.
DOOTNWER doing one of those nods with eyebrows raised
Until the acronymal climate changes, I’m still going to assume that I’m funny. Even when it’s obvious to everyone else that I’m not. It just makes me a whole lot happier.