A few of my least favorite things
by Gary Huerta
I want to talk about a few passive/aggressive catchphrases that bug the living shit out of me. Why? Because I’m sick with the flu. Like most guys who get the sniffles, I become a whining, complaining infantile creature, incapable of seeing anything but darkness and decay. In my achy, near-death state, it’s impossible for me to write about anything but universal misery and loathing. With that, here are three common tidbits of the English language that pain me to no end, even when I’m fully functional.
Despicable catchphrase one: “LOL”
I fucking hate the acronym, LOL. As a quick response to show one’s approval in a text message or Facebook post, I suppose I can endure it. I get that under those circumstances, it’s a shortcut to let people know you think they are amusing. No harm, no foul.
Where I dread LOL is when it is used to end a sentence or thought, as in: “I woke up this morning, got some coffee and read the paper, LOL”.
Fuck that. Seriously. Who really needs to end every mundane statement with something that gives the rest of us a cue to laugh? “I turned the sprinklers on – LOL!”
What are we, a studio audience in need of a personal applause sign? Maybe they don’t have enough respect for our collective intelligence to think we will know whether something is humorous or not? I guess they don’t because they seem to think that everything they put out for public consumption needs to be accompanied by LOL.
“I’m eating a sandwich, LOL!” “Have an awesome day, LOL!” “I accidentally cut my own finger off, LOL” It’s bullshit. And for me it gets worse when the LOLing is expanded to include physical descriptions of laughter.
ROFLMAO. Rolling on the floor laughing my ass off. Really? You are? Because all I did was agree.
Where will it end? ROFLPMPSTLMBLSH. Rolling on the floor peeing my pants spit take liquefying my balls laughing so hard?
Vile catchphrase two: “Just kidding”
I hate this even more. This is the turn-of-the-century version of LOL. It’s what people used when they actually had the opportunity to write or say things that weren’t limited by a character count. “Just kidding” says the exact same thing as LOL — I don’t have enough respect for your intelligence or my humor so I have to clarify that what I just said was a joke by giving you a verbal clue – just kidding.
Wait. You were just kidding when you said you just bought a 300-pound turkey for Thanksgiving? Why didn’t you clarify it by saying, “just kidding”? Since I couldn’t tell from the outrageous claim or context of our conversation that you were joking, I drove all over town looking for gargantuan turkeys for my holiday feast. If you had told me you were kidding I wouldn’t have wasted seven days on my quixotic search for something that didn’t exist. Oh. I forgot. Just kidding.
Here’s the thing. Give your audience a little respect. Give your joke a little respect. Don’t trample on either by telling us you were kidding right when we are about to laugh. Let us get the joke on our own. If it’s a good joke, we’ll know you were just kidding and appreciate your wit even more because you didn’t have to tell us. You might even get an LOL. If not, who cares? Maybe the joke wasn’t that good or maybe we didn’t get it. Either way, it was just a joke. Your reputation isn’t on the line. Just kidding. It is.
Contemptible catchphrase three: “With all due respect”
For me, this is the mother of catch phrases – the one I loathe more than all others. The power of that simple four-word phrase to render an entire opinion inept never ceases to stupefy me. You can sit silent for hours listening to the passionate argument of someone and by uttering these words it’s as if the opposing point of view never existed at all. For example:
“With all due respect, I know you are passionate about saving the rainforest, but…”
See? It’s as if the person talking about the Amazonian jungle never had a valid opinion at all! Their hours of passion and dedication to saving the planet is simply brushed away like an inconsequential mosquito on a hot summer night. Best of all, “With all due respect” then gives you an exclusive podium from which to pontificate your righteousness.
And what’s the real beauty? When it’s their turn to argue back, you can sit calmly knowing that at the end of their speech you can simply sigh, smile and say, “With all due respect.” And their opinion amounts to zero once again.