The world today is awash in a sea of change. We stand at the brink of the great unknown, peering into the void as the wheel of life continues its inexorable turning and ceaseless transformation literally sweeps the land with its dispassionate, impassive, Swiffer-like Broom of Change. I’m not talking about trivialities such as the obesity epidemic, the rise in gang violence in our cities, or my lack of ability or intent to repay my creditors – I’m talking about how the way we speak and write continues to change, and unequivocally for the worse. One egregious example stands out above all others. For years now, many commentators have been watching with growing alarm and an unrelated desire to snack on nachos as an epidemic of LOLs sweeps across the land with its fearsome Broom of Death. The problem isn’t the abbreviation — no, abbreviating is fine, and has a respected pedigree going back beyond the ancient Romans. Mind you, the old-school abbreviations had a grave authority to them — compare the vacuous teenybopper tone of ‘lol’ with the stern gravitas of INRI. No, the crux of the problem is inappropriate use. While it may be appropriate to write ‘lol’ in some cases, studies have shown, or would if they were to be conducted, that well over 100% of the time when someone writes ‘lol’, they have not actually laughed out loud. To help close this gap between words and reality, I continue to advocate for new abbreviations to help us communicate with each other without constantly resorting to gross hyperbole. I also eagerly engage in conversations with others to learn from the rich diversity of perspectives on this question of language usage that may differ from mine and then gently hammer my own points home with my bloodstained Viking war hammer.
I offer you three new options to give more nuance to your written communications. Option one takes care of many cases where ‘lol’ is currently used inappropriately: ‘phci’ stands for ‘perceiving humour, chuckling inwardly’. Option two accounts for several more cases of misuse: ‘brf’ — barely registers as funny. Finally, option three will take care of the great majority of situations: ‘iptychtsoemostwitbfaiwbabsaiidsitiwfsijsiwftayamt-wsiabsawmcftwiahputpamoabbabbpabwalltrtsmbeinluthftssoDcbffun’ — ‘I perceive that your communication has the structural or expressive markers of something that was intended to be funny and it would be a bit socially awkward if I don’t say I think it was funny so I’ll just say it was funny to appease you and make the whole social interaction a bit smoother and maybe we can forget the whole incident and hopefully pick up the pieces and move on, a bit battered and bruised but perhaps a bit wiser and less likely to repeat the same mistake but even if not let us take heart for the sweet salve of Death cannot be far from us now.” I know some of you might be thinking of leaving a comment below using the above abbreviations, but now that I’ve stolen your thunder you might feel compelled to up the ante and plot out a far more bilious, spiteful attack. We welcome these, as we do all of your messages and burnt offerings — see the bottom of this page for our contact information.