I have a sinking feeling that I might be a fame whore. 

First off, there’s the whole writing thing.  I’d like to have a book published so my words live on long after I’m gone.  What better way to achieve immortality?  It would also be cool to have either a periodic element named after me (markesium, maybe) or a dinosaur (markosaurus rex, naturally), but I’m neither a scientist nor an anthropologist, so those things are unlikely.  I suppose there’s always the stray chance that I’ll discover a comet, but then again, if I ever own a telescope it’ll probably be trained on other, less distant heavenly bodies.  

What?!  Tell me you wouldn’t spy on your neighbors, at least one time…

Besides, doing so could save a life.  Remember Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window?  If he hadn’t been a Peeping Tom, people might have died!  (While I’m on the subject of that movie, Lars Thorwald wasn’t a very smart criminal.  Isn’t the first rule of Murder 101 “close the damn curtains, already”?!  But I digress).

Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll come down with a debilitating disease.  Look at Lou Gehrig.  Why, there must be legions of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis who never followed baseball, and yet, his name lives on forever. 

Since none of these things are likely to happen, I figured the quickest route to infamy would be in creating something catchy that would appeal to the masses and spread like wildfire.  And that is how OLFR – my cool, new internet slang and (hopefully) lasting contribution to society – was born.

Like many people in my generation, I’m into texting.  Sending text messages is somewhat of an art form; you’ve got a limited number of characters to get your point across, and that is why a whole system of shorthand came about.  Oddly enough, most of it centers around expressing the idea that you are laughing.  Hence, LOL – “laughing out loud.”  And its many variations: LMAO (“laughing my ass off”), ROFL (“rolling on the floor laughing”), or the granddaddy of them all, ROTFLMAO (“rolling on the floor laughing my ass off”).  Man, if you score a ROTFLMAO, you know you’ve hit the comedic jackpot!

Are you actually laughing out loud?!

I noticed, however, that the effectiveness of LOL had diluted over time.  Taken at face value, if you type LOL, you should literally be laughing out loud.  I mean, you’ve told the person you’re texting that what he or she has said is so humorous, it has caused a spontaneous burst of laughter to issue forth from your mouth.  And yet, more often than not, I observed that people were typing LOL even when there wasn’t any actual laughter to be heard. 

We need something new, my entrepreneurial brain reasoned.  An acronym that we use only when we really, truly are laughing out loud, for real.

Out loud, for real.  Out Loud For Real.  OLFR.  A-ha!!  You know that moment when Alexander Graham Bell rang up Thomas Watson for the first time (paving the way for popular greetings like “hello” and “I’m perfectly happy with my long-distance carrier”)?  This was a similarly exciting revelatory moment in my life.  I had invented something groovy and new, coining a term that would surely catapult me to fame and stardom.  I imagined myself at cocktail parties, hobnobbing with the guy who invented LOL, and exchanging stories with the dude who came up with the sideways smiley face, 🙂  A world of possibilities opened up before my eyes: there would be groupies, and limousines.  I’d never have to wait for tables at fancy restaurants again.  Suddenly, I would be somebody.

I immediately started using my new phrase.  Anytime I received a funny text – one that truly made me laugh out loud for real – I’d respond with OLFR. 

Umm, what’s that? my friends would invariably text back.

It’s the cool new catchphrase that everybody is using! I’d reply, making them feel like they were, duh, slow to catch on, while still ensuring that they had plenty of time to adapt.  Better late than never.  It’s all about word of mouth, you know.  This is how revolutions get started.

Sure enough, my friends started using it.  I’d beam with pride every time I received an e-mail or a text with OLFR in it. 

I figured I’d better get to work on a sequel, because fads come and go.  To stay successful, you’ve got to forever be one step ahead, able to spot the next hot trend before it rolls around.  Putting on my creative thinking cap, I came up with OLFRWTSDMF.  You know…Out Loud For Real With Tears Streaming Down My Face.  To emphasize something really, really funny, the way ROTFLMAO does (which, again, is a stupid phrase because is anybody really rolling around on the floor, getting their clothes dirty and making a spectacle of themselves?  I sincerely doubt it).  OLFRWTSDMF is not to be used lightly, however.  It should be reserved for particularly funny scenes in certain films with particularly high laugh ratios.  Like Airplane! or The Jerk or Groundhog Day.  And you’d better really have tears streaming down your face. 

So now, I sit back and wait.  For what, I’m not exactly sure.  Perhaps an interview in The New Yorker?  Or a lunch meeting with the Merriam-Webster folks?  We’ll have to figure out which word to bump to make room for OLFR.  I vote for obsequious, because nobody really uses it anymore.

Go ahead and scoff all you want.  When the fortunes begin to roll in, I’ll OLFR all the way to the bank!


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

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