No, I am not referring to any experiences of stumbling upon infamous nooks and crannies of the World Wide Web. Thankfully, I’ve had few of those. It is the initiation into a new language that had me stumped from almost the moment I began interacting with fellow cyber explorers. One of my earliest Internet friends would often suffix her instant messages (oops, that would be IM) with an indecipherable LOL. I tried to figure that out for a long while, and when I saw she would use that word alike to say “I am having a bad hair day. Lol”, and “My son stole a cookie and wasn’t happy when we penalized him. Lol,” I decided it was time for me to put aside my embarrassment of coming across as a dipstick and ask her what exactly LOL stood for. She just typed LOL once more in response to my question. How frustrating. And no, it wasn’t funny at all.
She gave me the expanded version soon though. Those familiar with Internet jargon will know it for sure–it’s Laugh Out Loud. Aha! How enlightened I felt when I finally learned the words behind the ever so enigmatic LOL, which seemed to fit into every life situation for my LOL-loving friend.
That was only the start. Soon, I came upon one Internet acronym after another, until it was almost a whole heap of them. At times I would be overwhelmed by this strange new lingo everyone in the writer’s chat room I used to visit seemed to perfectly understand. Everyone, but poor, ignorant me. With time, I grew out of my what-if-they-laugh-at-my-dumbness self-conscious mode and started pestering my more learned friends for every acronym I couldn’t figure out on my own (yes, I did decipher a few; I am not that dumb, you know).
It was as if a whole new code language of communication had opened up before me. And once I started making sense of BRBs and BBSs; AFKs and AYTs; LOLs and LMAOs and ROFLs; IMOs, and IMHOs; and WBs and TYs, I was just as suave in using them as my other internet-smart friends.
As much as I thought I had mastered this cutting-edge lingo, I was shaken out of my naive arrogance by a fellow food blogger, who, in a comment in our (I write it jointly with a Peruvian friend) food blog, gave me a few tips, following them with HTH. I racked my brains to unravel the words behind that cryptic trinity of letters, but when I had spent enough minutes without getting a suitable answer from my brain, I wrote back to my blogger friend, saying “Thanks for your tips. BTW, what does HTH mean?” She told me it stood for Hope That/This Helps. Duh me; why couldn’t I guess that? Anyway, along with educating me on HTH, my friend also told me of a new one I had never before seen or heard anywhere. It was POS. Can you guess what it could be? If you are parenting a teenager, you possibly can. In case you are parenting a teen and still don’t know, watch out the next time you hear your kid saying that to his or her friends. POS stands for Parent Over Shoulder. Ouch! I bet that one is a student coinage.
So as I pondered about my still incomplete education in this wacky new language, I joked to my publisher that maybe I should write a sequel to Making Out in America, based on Internet acronyms. She spontaneously said…well, “LOL,” what else? And followed it up by saying it wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
P.S. The title of this post is: By the way, Can You Figure This? The latter of the two acronyms is a new creation. The creator? Yours truly 😉