GTG. BRB. OMG. LMAO. TTYL. LOL.
Texting idioms. Developed by teens perhaps as a way to get around parents, there is a vast lexicon of shortcuts of which I am only vaguely familiar. Here are some more examples:
OFL = On the floor laughing.
LMK = Let me know.
ILY = I love you.
SMH = Shaking my head.
NVM = Never mind.
IKR = I know, right.
Perhaps the most frequently used, is LOL. Laugh out loud. When you append a sentence with LOL, it gives you a certain power, the power of ambiguity. The person on the receiving end can’t exactly tell if you are really serious. You can get away with a lot.
“We should go out on a date. LOL”.
“I’m going to kill you. LOL”.
“I H8 U. LOL”.
See? You don’t know if I am serious. It allows me to push the boundaries of what I might normally say.
LOL resulted in a fairly interesting Toronto trial. The case was a sad business whereby a fourteen year old girl, Stephanie Rengel, was stabbed multiple times on New Years Day 2008 and left to die on a snowbank. She was killed by her former boyfriend. He was pushed to murder by an onslaught of text messages from his current girlfriend who was insecure and jealous of Stephanie. The girl was obsessed to the point where she was texting him sometimes hundreds of times in the space of an hour.
Did U do it yet? LOL. Y NOT? LOL. U BETR FKING DO IT. LOL
And so on. Just in case you wondered what your fourteen year old is out doing past nine on a school night, this one was counseling first-degree murder. Her trial defence was based on the superficiality of social media, that no one in their right mind should interpret statements ending in LOL as serious. The defence failed, and she went to jail.
Social media is troubling if you have teens. There is an entire world going on behind your back, that you pay for monthly. I still don’t understand why my daughters text each other while in the same room, or why my wife texts them to come down to supper. I prefer to holler in the old-fashioned manner. No instant messaging for me.
Well, once maybe. It was a special circumstance. The preamble for this might be the ancient advice… do not get between a dad and his daughters. It happened when my daughter left her Facebook open, way back in the days when teens actually used Facebook. In such situations, it is almost too tempting for a parent to look, problem being that you may not like what you find.
In this case, a boy expressing interest in my daughter. I had heard the name Brandon, I knew she hung out with him here and there. Problem was that he was not expressing romantic interest in the manner which I might deem appropriate, especially because my daughter was only fifteen years old at the time.
Brandon was a self-styled Lothario from her High School class. Only on social media he called himself Captain Longhorn, and listed his MO as the quest to have as much sex as possible - LOL. The game in crude talk is that they don’t know if you are serious, and who knows? You might catch a real fish here and there. No harm in asking. And so I responded in kind.
Me: “Hey Brandon, this is Elizabeth’s Dad.”
Brenton: “Ya, right, LOL”.
Me: “No, really this IS Elizabeth’s Dad.
Brenton: “WTF. LOL R U Serious”.
Me: “Yes I am LOL”.
Let us just say that I apprised Brandon of the things that might happen to him if he ever came within a country mile of my daughter - LOL. Frontier justice tends to take the short route. Pissed off Dads are not deterred by the thought of jail time.
Brandon, perhaps not wanting to hedge his bets, seemed to take the hint. I overheard my daughters talking not too long after that. “So what happened with Brandon?” “I don’t know. All of a sudden he acted like he didn’t want to hang out with me anymore.”
LOL is a beautiful thing.
LOL. Am I serious? Hey punk. Ask yourself a question. Do you feel lucky today? Do you punk? Roll the dice. LOL.
Life may be funny over the internet. Then again it may not. Do you want to find out for real? It might even be funnier in person.
It’s hard to tell sometimes. LOL.