In his Soapbox podcast series, David Mitchell explains that the reason he actual approves of the Internet expression ‘lol‘ is because it serves as a useful way of pointing out in an entirely written medium when something is supposed to be viewed as a joke.

As it is far too often that we see arguments break out online over what turns out to have been a joke, I am fully in agreement that lol has it’s use in the context. The thing that makes me angry about it is when it’s used at the end of statements that aren’t particularly funny or that don’t need clarification as to the intent of the writer.

‘Hope you are havign fun and not on your way to a new tension headache as the song goes lol xxx’

Because avoiding tension headaches is so amazingly funny.

‘I once dated a man much older, I couldn’t hack it and ran off. It was like datign yoru dad lol’

Good clarification there for anyone who believes dating your own dad is a great idea and the poster is recommending it. My favourite I saw the other day though:

‘ha ha! Lol’

As if there was any kind of misunderstanding about whether the author was amused by something.

“Just in case you didn’t realise that my words ‘ha ha’ referred to me laughing at something, I thought I’d clear it up by letting you know that I also laughed out loud at it too.”

But the thing about lol that angers me the most is actually the reverse of somebody typing it after a distinctly unfunny comment: when people literally laugh out loud in real life over stupid un-amusing things.

I know someone who does this and out of all her irritating behaviours, it’s the one that’s most likely going to drive me to violence.

She’ll be sitting there, reading something on her computer when she’ll break out into the most ostentatious laugh imaginable. Even the mouth-breathers at a Peter Kay show don’t wet themselves over the comic excellence of garlic bread (lol, if you too stupid to realise) over whatever she’s just digested from, invariably, the Daily Mail website. It’s the sort of laugh which is just begging you to stop whatever you’re doing and pay attention to her.

After asking her what is so funny, she then leaves an excruciating pause before relaying whatever crap she just read punctuated with another laugh at whatever aspect of it she thought was so mind-meltingly hilarious. The problem is:

Nothing she has ever read out has ever been funny in any way at all!

Not even vaguely amusing. Nothing that should even elicit the smallest of titters let alone the guffaws she so often emits. But she still does it and I resent her for wasting my time with it.

At first I used to let out a small laugh more out of social nicety then anything else but I’ve toned it down to a wry smile over the last month and I think the next step is to just stare at here for a second before returning to whatever I was doing before.

There is a part of me though that wants to laugh back. To open my mouth and scream in the most sarcastic manner possible, maybe even falling out of my chair at the hilarity of it all and literally roll on the floor laughing which would probably be the first time in history that anyone HAS rolled on the floor laughing but let’s not get into that.

But I don’t. I just get mildly annoyed and go back to my book until 2 minutes later she laughs out loud again and I have to go outside to kick a puppy.

I’m not claiming to have a higher understanding of comedy or anything like that, I just really don’t understand why she thinks the things she is laughing at are so funny that everybody else has to be in on the joke. Half the time, even the person who originally wrote the thing she was laughing at didn’t intend it to be funny. She gives out the same ludicrous reaction to the minutes from meetings she’s reading. When she reads it out to me, half the time I haven’t the slightest clue what she’s talking about let alone why it should be so underpant-fillingly amusing.

It’s not funny and I don’t care. There is no reason to lol over it and I think less of you because of it.


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