The next post will be on or before Wednesday 28th November
LOL AND OMG!
George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Mollie Keane and James Joyce, are all outstanding examples of those who were phenomenally sensitive to the infinite nuances of those mercurial, indeed hallucinatory things called Words. As in his own hilarious way was the late great comedian Professor Stanley Unwin (1911-2002) who with his excellent default epistemological category ‘fundamould’ (= ‘philosophical fundamental’) could entertain an audience for hours. Prof Unwin provides a salutary foil to those authoritarian pedants who don’t like splitting infinitives nor putting a preposition at the end of a sentence, but believe you me those old-fashioned sticklers are nowhere near as extreme as some. About 20 years ago, I briefly mixed in the same circle as a know-all bloke with an excessive amount of education, famed for his love of formality and intellectual hierarchy, who in dinner party conversations would come out with sentences like the following.
‘Possibly in this situation the best approach/strategy would be to aim at/test empirically the simplest/least complex option.’
Except he didn’t say that at all, for amazingly what he said was:
‘Possibly in this situation the best approach STROKE strategy would be to aim at STROKE test empirically the simplest STROKE least complex option’
After 10 minutes of that I thought I was taking a stroke myself, added to which I was genuinely worried about this finicky geezer’s mental health. As I stared at him (and for want of distraction and rather like Richmal Crompton’s Just William when bored, I was trying to count his teeth) I thought to myself did he talk like that in bed with his wife (‘would you like STROKE prefer me, to stroke STROKE caress STROKE palpate you?’). The point is he obviously believed that there was admirable intellectual subtlety in giving an approximate synonym for everything he said, whereas instead he seemed to have a verbal OCDC similar to those unfortunate folk who have to wash their hands red raw 20 times after going to the bathroom rather than once.
At the opposite end to all that fussiness, is the amiable practice most evident in Facebook posts and confiding texts between best pals aged anywhere between 15 and 75, of peppering one’s paragraphs with acronyms on the lines of OMG (Oh My God!) WTF (What The Fuck) and last but not least the duplicitous and debatable LOL. Apropos which, a lot of people think that with my Sanskrit and Old Iranian degree and 11 books to my name, I must be a brainbox and a steaming intellectual, but I have to confess to being thicker than shit in this specific acronymic context. It was only a few months ago at the tender age of 67, that I discovered what the current generation means by LOL, for in my own formative years, back in the swinging mid 60s when I was in my mid-teens, it could only mean one thing, namely ‘Lots Of Love’. More to the point, when I was 15 years old in 1966, no less than twice did I receive from a certain lovely young girl, a letter in a dainty pink envelope sprinkled lightly with cheap scent, its reverse (while we are in the mood, dare I say its sweet little backside?) being sealed with the acronyms LOL and SWALK in smudged red biro. The latter meant ‘Sealed With a Loving Kiss’, a beautiful, tender and rhythmically poetic formula, albeit the acronym itself surely sounds like something one might bring up if one had a serious throat infection. And as I say, the previous 1966 endearment meant ‘Lots Of Love’. The problem was that half a century later, on Facebook posts and in occasional jokey emails, I would come across LOL in a repetitive context that made little sense to me if any. Had I thought laterally and intelligently, I would have asked someone if LOL had more than one meaning, but instead I persisted in my Neanderthal Beatles era translation, and felt that there was some LOL nuance in these 2017 posts that I just didn’t get, partly because I was thick, and also of course because I was old.
At length and only a few months ago, I did ask someone for clarification, and discovered that these days it means ‘Laugh Out Loud’ haha, and with that, all of a sudden, all those fb cheerleaders and wild night out anecdotes began to make a cumulative sense. But I have to say I felt as thoroughly and outrageously cheated by LOL having 2 contrary and unrelated meanings, as if someone had told me Christmas Day could also be on the 5th of May, or that the genius of an actor Brad Pitt actually had the birth name of Pontefract T Wilberforce.
And so it is that at this point I lay down in public and for all who have a sense of semantic justice, an acronymic challenge. If LOL can have 2 meanings, then I am going to invent an acronym here and now that has 3 of the buggers, all of them seemingly appallingly bawdy but instead simply vehement expressions of visceral amazement, consternation or chagrin.
My 3-pronged acronym which I patent now before the watching world at 10.25 Greek time Monday 19th November 2018, is…with a momentous and monumental roll of drums…
Yes, that’s right, effing FMS…
This acronym signifies in the most subtle and minutely calibrated spectroscopic range of passionate human sentiment, all of three quite different things:
F–k me stiff!
F–k me sideways!
F–k me senseless!
As I say, none of these magnificently heartfelt interjections are remotely bawdy, nor are they paraphrased directives from the ancient Hindu erotic manuals the Kama Sutra or the Ratirahasya of Kokkoka (it’s not my fault the great man’s name was that). They are all instead passionate and uninhibited expressions of astounded nay dumbfounded nay incredulous wonderment.
And let’s face it, a bit of passion wouldn’t go amiss with anyone, would it, whether it be carnal passion or the aesthetic variant. Whoever you are and wherever you are, that is…