Sunday, May 13, 2012
If a Redneck LOL's, does it make a noise?
I’ve just finished reading Drop Dead Healthy, the latest memoir of sorts by one of my favorite authors, AJ Jacobs. I am a lover of all things non-fiction and Mr. Jacobs has documented all manner of activities in his life, like reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in a year or literally living the Old Testament for a year. DDH is about his quest for bodily perfection. In it he talks about androstenone, which causes people to not be able to smell things like sweat, urine and pig spit. That this could apply to my father should come as no surprise as the man does enjoy his Vienna sausages or as he calls them, “vie-eenie weenies”. They seem to be no more than potted meat in the shape of a tube. Not appealing in any manner or circumstance up to and including a plane crash in the Andes Mountains. I’d rather eat a soccer player. Well, not really, but you get my point.
The revelation there is the possibility of an ounce of truth in all my Daddy’s protestations of “I cain’t smell what you say you smell” caught me by surprise. He might truly be biologically incapable of actually identifying the funk that is him. As it is a complex aroma, part sweat, part flatulence residue and part old man smell, it has caused me much grief and has been the main source of friction betwixt us since he moved in.
This is not the only reason I bring up the book. Another issue that sprang to mind whilst I was reading is this: Mr. Jacobs is a witty writer, an enjoyable writer, a writer of great talent. He is not however, an author who causes me to “LMAO”, otherwise known as laughing my a-crooked letter-crooked letter off. (If you don’t get that joke, I’m to assume you never spelled Mississippi as a child). No offense to Timothy Ferriss, who praised him on the book jacket. First of all, what’s with all the vulgarity being thrown about with abandon? I weep for our future people. Weep.
Don’t get me wrong, AJ, as I would like to call him should we ever meet, is vastly entertaining. When I read his books, and this is the fourth one I’ve read, I am enthralled, educated and happy. I do not, however, LOL. Not once. And that means laugh out loud, not lots of love as my best friend Christopher’s mother originally thought. Full disclosure: we discovered she thought LOL meant lots of love when she made some random comment about the ethnicity of Christopher’s fiancé and threw in a few “hell fire and brimstones” and ended the statement with LOL. Now I’ve known some judgmental Evangelicals in my time, but that was a little too far into Fred Phelps territory for my comfort and I asked Christopher just what was up with his Pentecostal mama. As he did not know, he asked her what exactly she meant by her use of the phrase. I think it might be a generational thing because I asked my Daddy what LOL would mean to him and he said lot of love, too.
And I’m not trying to say I have never LOL’d. However, I have only LOL’d when reading a very few select people’s work. John Kennedy Toole, Tina Fey and Wanda Sykes are a tiny minority of writers who make me LOL. I have also not LMAO’d and I don’t know anyone outside of possibly from fraternity brothers in the throes of post-finals celebrations who have actually ROFLMAO. That, as you may know is rolling on the floor, LMAOing. Nothing in the history of mankind except possibly Eddie Izzard (in his Dress to Kill concert), Robin Williams doing stand-up in the late 80s or Kevin Hart is that funny. Dane Cook not that funny. Amy Schumer is not that funny. LOL funny? Sure. ROFLMAO funny? No.
But what are we to say when we find ourselves in the throes of a reaction that needs to be documented? In order to educate as well as entertain (in the mold of Mr. Jacobs himself) I have decided to create a new language to cover the bases of the reactions I have had whilst reading, Facebooking, etc. Use it as you see fit.
GAB – (pronounced like you’d think) giggle a bit.
SAL – (ditto) smile a lot.
OMIA/OMID (ditto) open mouth in anger or disgust.
AEBIS/AEBII – (ditto) arch eyebrows in surprise or interest.
SHIW/SHIS – (ditto) shake head in wonder or sadness. Usually follows OMIA/D.
TLMHWHN – (pronounced Tulim Hewin) tight-lipped mm-hmming with head nod.
GAWL – (pronounced like you think) gesture accusingly while laughing. Usually at a person who you have discovered is “so (that person) it’s not funny”, which ironically is funny.
LCASFATR – (pronounced Lucas Fatter) look condescendingly at someone from across the room. Of course I’m referring to the theoretical room that is Facebook.
LSHILAFSTLWRIAAAIDTPITF (no pronunciation offered) laugh so hard I look around for someone to laugh with, realize I am alone and immediately decide to post it to Facebook. Of course, I could have inadvertently spelled the name of some obscure city in Europe. If I have, I apologize.
GMFHBNLMFP (ditto) got my feelings hurt because no one ‘liked’ my funny post from the LSHILAFSTLWRIAAAIDTPITF.
So there you have it. I hope I have established a new common language to assist you in getting your point across in cyberspace. Now, I realize that some of the pronunciations can get in the way, but if we were being honest, how often do we really say LOL in person? I’m hoping not at all, because if you are then that’s just sad and I will, at the very least, AEBIS and more than likely SHIS. Just saying.
To return the focus of this missive to my Daddy, I will say his possibly biological inability to smell certain things has also, apparently, affected his judgment in many ways especially in relation to acceptable behavior in the home. Now I know that I am persnickety about some, okay many, things, but I truly don’t feel that it is asking too much to expect him to close the door when using the restroom. He doesn’t, regardless of the activity being executed. I believe the street vernacular is #1 and/or #2.
I also don’t feel that it is, to use his words “actin’ like Queen Elizabeth is comin’”, to require a properly closed trouser (buttoned and zipped) for any and all meals, snacks and TV viewing. What he does when I am not home would, I feel quite sure, both alarm and unnerve me and I’d just rather be in the dark. His level of comfort is much too close for me, if you are picking up what I’m throwing down.
Additionally, I have made small requests in relation to meal time conversation. I have asked that clinical details of bodily functions, fluids and various other words that begin with F be saved for his actual physician. I do not want to know what came out of where while I am trying to enjoy my “concoctions” as he likes to call anything with which he has no familiarity which can be something as mundane as hummus and pita. When I described the ingredients, he just stared at me. Chickpeas “sounded weird” and tahini sounded like “somewhere rich people go for vacation”. In my zeal to establish a frame of reference using things he understands, I ended up calling it a Mediterranean version of refried beans, which lessened my enjoyment, can I just say.
One of my readers accused me of being too focused on my father’s flatulence and related activities and maybe I have been a little bodily-function-heavy in my postings, but I have always been told to write what I know. And living with him the function that dare not speak its name is an almost visible addition to our little family. I fully expect it, at some point, to take human form, not unlike Hepatitis and Urine who stand outside as if working the doors at many fine establishments in the French Quarter.
And that's all I'm saying for now.