Wednesday, February 23, 2011


To preface this (b)logos we should be honest about the microcosm we live in today. We busy ourselves with many things and take shortcuts whenever possible. An example of this can be seen in our technological correspondence with one another. In the wake of IM and SMS we are even more prone to acronyms, initialisms, and emoticons to express ourselves in a concise way. One trouble for me, being of an earlier generation, I don’t always follow this lead coherently. I tried to absorb as much as I could in the years I spent dating younger men. I’d read a text, “We should def hang out” or “I12CU L8R” and I’d have to wonder, “Is this a good thing?” I like to think I adapted to these circumstances but truth be told, it never worked out. If Aaliyah were still with us today I might correct her, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Communication Barrier,” admittedly not as catchy and there I go again showing my age. Fun facts about my dating history and reminders of dead R&B artists aside, let’s move along to the topic at hand. Why do I take issue with “LOL”? Where to start? Perhaps I should start by acknowledging that many of my friends are habitual users of “LOL”. This is not a personal attack on them. I see them as the victims of this popular pleonastic perversion of expression. To demonstrate how it happens; a friend or colleague shares an anecdote with us. Our visceral response, a bellowing chuckle. Our next instinct is to validate their comedic efforts with an acknowledgement. But if Mandy Moron’s character, Julie, from Scrubs has taught us anything (yes, I nicknamed Mandy Moore, Mandy Moron) it is that sometimes a “that’s so funny” doesn’t get us very far. ---> “LOL” was born. None of my clumsy research afforded me the name of the individual or organization responsible for this acronymous event but I believe the blame bears weight on us all. This is not a self righteous diatribe. I have little to no guilt admitting to using (in spoken dialogue even) an occasional WTF, BTW, and even the BRB. But most bothersome about “laughing out loud” in particular is well—it’s redundant. It seems to have escaped most of the world so I will take the effort to point out that by definition laughter occurs out loud. Laughter is a vocal sound that is produced when one finds something amusing. Is mechanics what I hate about “LOL”? I wish it were that simple—but I simply am not a fierce enforcer of rhetoric. I do try to implement the use of correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. but most often I fail and when I do I like to pretend it is a stylistic choice (and I’d like it even more if you pretended right along with me). There are instances in which I’ve said “PIN number”, “added bonus”, “queso cheese”, or “it goes without saying...” so I don’t wish to fault any “LOL” users solely on their superfluous vocabulary. 
So why? 
Why do I die a little inside when I read “LOL”? After much ranting I am finally prepared to answer that. 
I hold laughter in a very high regard. The highest. I use laughter to protect me and assist me in all of my daily undertakings. Simply trying to elicit laughter from another human is the most satisfying enterprise I have embarked on (I specify human because try as I may I have never made any other mammal laugh). If I tell thirty-eight jokes a day and just one results in laughter, well, I feel like a fucking deity. I should warn that this laughter will only encourage me and typically preludes thirty-eight more bad jokes. This seeking validation through lame joke telling started many many moons ago when I still had my milk teeth. I was awkward, shy, and didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I grew up and I am a little less shy now. I am however arguably more awkward and my permanent teeth, well they are no prettier than the set I traded under my pillow for quarters. Forgive the lengthy aside, sometimes I like to interrupt myself when I am talking about myself for an opportunity to talk about myself some more. I clung tightly to my own approach of comedy. I used this to make friends, have fun with friends, make fun of friends, and cheer friends up. I’ve use this as a shield. I’ve covered myself in cloaks of self-deprecation because someone would be a fool to point out any of my flaws if they could not do so with the relevant humor I used when pointing them out myself. I amuse myself when I am driving, pooping, or you know...any other time I am alone. I cut inappropriate jokes at inappropriate times in an attempt to make myself or others feel more comfortable. Wouldn’t you know it 60% of the time it works, every time. I tell jokes to make mean people feel stupid. I tell jokes to get laid. I hit myself with objects to make babies laugh. And often, for the greater good of mankind, I will consume copious amounts of alcoholic beverages so that I can regurgitate elevated levels of “funny”. But more frequently I rely on others for laughter. It may sound shallow but I screen all my friends for a sense of humor. The outcome is the safety of knowing that no matter how lousy I feel, five minutes with any of my friends will completely transform me. It is almost as if the emission of such heartfelt laughter helps repair cells in my body. Laughter, for me, is the most genuine response to these encounters in our life when someone has made a conscious decision to want to see us smile. Laughter is warm. Laughter is liberating. Laughter is affirming. Laughter is inspiring...I just can’t help but cringe when I see laughter reduced to so little. Three little letters on my computer screen. These three little letters just don’t hold any significance for me. I see these letters and to be honest it makes me want to PIM (puke-in-mouth). 

BTW: Don’t worry Netherlanders, you're safe. You can have all the lol you want.  

Monday, February 07, 2011


1. He eats McDonalds. If he doesn’t care about himself, why should you?

2. He doesn’t like your friends. I have never come across this personally (because my friends are rad), but this is a huge problem. The solutionreplace the boyfriend. If he doesn’t get along with your friends chances are it’s because they can sense what a complete chode he is.

3. He LIKES your friends. This is also a huge problem, one I have experienced several times before (because my friends are so rad). So, if you give him a drunken blowie during a crowded screening of (500) Days of Summer and less than a week later he asks you for your friend’s phone number (for example) you might want to reconsider the effort you’ve put forth. i.e. move on. 

4. He worships Dave Matthews Band*. Truthfully I’d be weary if he owns even one CD or has been to a concert. It is near impossible to let yourself get serious with a guy who has bad taste in music. If you’re thinking, “That’s okay. It’s just a fling”, keep in mind you may be called on to make out while Dave plays in the background (and remember, it’s hard to make out when you’re nauseated).

5. He is, perhaps, a little too impressed with himself. Dude, you’re dating a narcissist. A real sexy find is someone who can both embrace a healthy level of confidence and adequately manage their insecurities. A false sense of ego is (admittedly) intriguing at first, but ultimately a huge turnoff. Occupational markers to look for: Chef or Musician. Lexicon: refers to himself as "a heartbreaker” or “not a nice guy”. His appearance: Caution, he could be anybody. The easiest way for me to identify this type is—I will find myself attracted to them.

6. He wears a visor. Firstly, if he wears a visor there is a good chance numbers 1-5 also apply to him. Secondly, who wants to be seen with a guy wearing a visor?

7. He tells you he doesn’t deserve you. Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecies. I don’t know what he was thinking saying this out loud. You already know this to be true. Let’s face it, who does deserve you? Now he has upset the balance of the relationship by acknowledging it. This truth will hang over your heads like Nimbostratus. He will eventually start exhibiting behaviors to support this thus bringing about your relationship's demise.

8. His last name does not begin with the letter S. All right, so this one is more personalized for me. I’ve always had a secret longing for my initials to be V.S. so I can pretend that my Victoria’s Secret panties are monogramed just for me. Few exceptions will be made. See retailer for details.

9. He won’t put out. Boyfriends are good for very few things. This is unmistakably his most important function. If he won’t throw you a bone—throw him away.

10. He says, types, or texts “LOL”. My next blog will explain in detail why I believe “lol” is the very worst thing to happen to language.

* Dave Matthews Band. Contributed by Ms. Jamie Cate Hatch. At a critical time during this blog’s conception I had but only nine criterion for dumping a dude.  Thank you Cate.