I do love language, I just don't believe in lording it over people. I love it when people use words well to communicate ideas not just clearly but also beautifully. When people can't communicate, that's okay. There's plenty of other cool stuff to do. So, once again, this isn't a rant in defense of language.
This is a rant in defense of laughter. I haven't decided yet, but I just may love laughter more than language. I love the sound of genuine, good-natured laughter. Haughty laughter (which should kind of rhyme, but doesn't at all) is irritating. Derisive laughter, not so fun. And some people's laughs are just plain wrong, though it's no fault of their own. But when people laugh for all the right reasons, laughter is my favorite sound in the universe.
But in text speak, it's just LOL. Or LMAO. Or ROFL. Or ROFLMAO. Normally, I love abbreviations. But LOL just doesn't cut it. LOL isn't funny. Laughter is supposed to be contagious, but LOL is a virtual laughter vaccine. What's more, the paranoid side of me (all of me) has serious doubts about just how OL the L really is. It's the texting equivalent of just telling someone, "That was funny." Cue the video:
When I see LOL, no matter how much I trust the person who typed it, I usually suspect them of lying. I think, Oh . . . they didn't really think that was funny. They just saw that I was trying to be funny and patronizingly LOL'd me to make me feel better. Well guess what . . . IT DIDN'T WORK! And that's just not healthy.
The sad thing is, I don't know a remedy. Typing in "Ha ha" doesn't really work. "Hee hee" sounds . . . not manly. Expounding on how hard you're laughing sometimes works. (My friend Heather usually informs me when an IM or email forces her to involuntarily spray her beverage on her computer screen . . . I really like that one, but it can be expensive.) And no acknowledgment of the humor is even worse. Total silence just lets the joke-teller's mind wander to all kinds of bad places. Youcrossedthelineville. Youreanidiot City. Ihavenoideawhatyourtalkingaburg. I hate those places.
I guess we could all just YouTube videos of ourselves laughing at various degrees of hilarity. You could tape the, "I'll humor you with a subdued chuckle" laugh. The "I don't get it, but I'm laughing anyway" laugh. The "seriously, if I typed LOL, I wouldn't be lying," laugh. The delayed, "Okay, I'm laughing, but just kind of . . . still figuring it out . . . oh, NOW I get it, that's hilarious and I can't stop laughing," laugh. And of course the "Someone call a doctor, I'm having an aneurysm and my abdomen's imploding," laugh. I'm sure there are others, but those would do okay.
Still, I guess there's just no substitute for actually being with people and laughing in their company. Kind of the down side of freelance writing from home, eh? Of course, my favorite audience of laughers is almost always here, and they're a very easy crowd to please. :) (Oh, yeah, smiling via text is completely ok with me.)
If you have any better ideas for LOL alternatives, please let me know. I'm dying here.