Today someone actually said “L-O-L” to me after something amusing, as if an acronym is a real word.
Immediately I lost all respect for them. You know, because I’m bitter and judgemental like that.
But then I had the chance to think about it a bit more, and I realised that the use of acronyms in everyday life isn’t exactly a new thing. I mean, how often does someone say ‘FYI’ or ‘ASAP’? And no one ever thinks that’s weird. Unless someone says ‘Ay-Sap’ instead of ‘A-S-A-P’. That’s kinda stupid.
Although I can honestly say that I can’t ever recall using an acronym like it was a regular word myself. It just feels kinda weird, in the same way that it feels weird calling your mum by her given name.
A little while back I was in the changing rooms of a clothing store, and a girl in the next cubicle had tried on a top* and was modelling it for her friend, who was um-ing and ah-ing over it.
“Yeah” said the girl with the top “there’s something NQR about it, isn’t there?”
“What’s NQR?” asked her friend, at which the other girl proceeded into a 5 minute long explanation of how it really meant not quite right. Which kind of defeated the purpose of using an acronym.
So who is the bigger idiot in this circumstance? The girl who attempted to use an acronym in regular conversation, or the girl who couldn’t work out what NQR meant? Maybe the least idiotic thing would be for the girls to know what the acronym meant, but not be so sad as to try to use it in a conversation.
It also made me wonder if people say other acronyms like they’re real words? In particular, stuff that is used in online chat to describe actions that the other person can’t see – like ‘ROFLMAO’. And if you say that as a word, does that cancel out the need to actually roll around on the floor, laughing your ass off? Or do you just writhe around on the ground for a bit before choking out ‘R-O-F-L-M-A-O’?
I’m going to add LOL to my list of things that people have said out loud to me that I don’t consider to be real words, along with ‘Woot’, ‘Supposably’, ‘O-M-G’ and ‘Droll’.
That last one is on there because I think it sounds like it should mean the opposite of what it actually does.
*If you’re a male, feel free to imagine that they were trying on skimpy underwear instead of clothing. It’ll make what is essentially a pretty dull story seem a lot more fun.