English is a dynamic language; it changes all the time. Sometimes the changes occur slowly, sometimes they occur rapidly, but they do occur continually. The advent of cell phones and texting and services that demand a premium on collecting meaning into a limited number of characters have produced a plethora of acronyms, so numerous that whole Internet sites are devoted to interpreting them. One of those acronyms, LOL, seems to be a favorite of many who comment on this blog. Write a poem about LOL, or RAD, or any words or phrases you hear that are not “standard” English. Don’t feel restricted to “new” coinage; these days, even the King’s (James’s) English sounds strange to some.


The Fax of the Matter

A stay-at-home mom, now single,
I needed to enter the workforce.
It had been more than a decade
Since I’d graduated from high school.
No college for me.

We were not of the privileged few
With home computers.
In fact, I had no computer experience
And was not tech-savvy
In the least.
So I entered a local college on a –
Ready for this? –
“Displaced housewife” grant.
I chose a secretarial course.

After just a few months in,
I was offered a decent job
At The University of Toledo.
I quit college and snatched it up.
That, after all, was why I was in school
At age thirty.

My first week on the job,
I received a call from the U.T. librarian.

“Miss, will you please tell Dr. Burnham
He has a facts.”

I thought for a moment.
Did I hear her correctly?
I responded.

“Pardon me. Did you say Dr. Burnham has
A facts?”

“Yes ma’am. He can pick it up at the front desk.”

Completely baffled, I repeated again…

“I’m sorry. Are you saying Dr. Burnham has
A facts? As in singular ‘a,’ and ‘facts’?”

Now she seemed a bit impatient.

“Yes. A facts. He has a facts. We’ll hold it for him.”

Well, I wasn’t going to question her any further, so
I wrote down the message for Dr. Burnham.
But seriously, I don’t know how some folks land a job,
Much less at a university.

(Embarrassingly, a true story. 😉 )

© copyright 2013, Marie Elena Good



When I look up the LOLs and the RADs and the JAFs,
I think I am at a convention of gaffes.
Computers and phones have produced a new lingo:
a modified English: alphabet bingo.

This strikes me as silly and somewhat dismaying;
it screws up all meaning. Ya know what I’m saying?
Now reading, like having a cup with no saucer,
takes far too much work, like the English of Chaucer.

© copyright 2013, William Preston

193 thoughts on “PROMPT #127 – LOL

  1. Hey folks! I love the way people talk. Whether in slang, idioms, strange phrases, including tones and accompanying facial expressions. To me this is ultra-fascinating.

  2. A Rose By Any Other Name…

    There an
    To disguise it,
    Any words that can cover or hide it,
    The disease that spreads, grows, multiplies, kills?
    If so, tell me,
    Let me feel
    Its com-

    © Copyright Erin Kay Hope – 2013

    We found out this fall that my grandpa has prostate cancer. It’s very treatable, but since my great grandma and my brother both died of cancer, any time I hear the word my heart seems to miss a beat. I often wonder if it would be less potent under a different name. I know this poem is stretching the rules a bit, but there it is. 🙂

    • Erin, A rose by any other name … still a rose. There for us to enjoy and love until the pedasl fall.

    • Your poem is effective, Erin Kay, and deals squarely with the fact that there’s no no good way to make a silk purse out of that sow’s ear. I work for a place that deals with cancer all the time, and have heard cancers called “tumors,” “neoplasms,” “lesions,” and all sorts of medically descriptive terms such as carcinoma, sarcoma, and so on. The bottom line for malignancies is still that they are malignant. That said, I’ve worked with cancer doctors for nearly 50 years and have seen lots of hopeful changes over that time. Prostate cancer is one of them, and where I work they use proton radiotherapy to treat it. If you live in the northwest, as I seem to recall, there is a new proton center in Seattle. For me, the result of all this is that “cancer” still sounds scary, but not so much as it did.

    • Hi Erin, enjoyed your poem. So sorry you have to deal with this. One of my grandmothers has growth on her liver and has already spread. I wish somehow it was more comforting. Hugs!

    • Oh, sweetie … my heart just sank for you. Yes, it is a horrid word that brings memories, feelings, and fears we would rather not face. Take heart that it is treatable. God be with you and your family as decisions for treatment are made, and folks step up to the plate to help out.

      Hugs …

    • Erin! Oh, goosebumps. This is so affecting…you write from your heart every time. Beautiful.

      Strangely, this phrase, your title just went through my mind this morning…a fallen rose petal on my dining table brought it to mind. ♥ to you.

    • Thank you everyone for all the hugs and encouraging words! We are very hopeful and, of course, just trusting our dear Savior and praying. It is such a comfort to know that this is treatable, and he will most likely recover. We are in God’s hands. Thank you all again! ❤

  3. AA

    Acronyms can be most exclusive.
    Where words are put to each letter
    without convaying the whole.
    Under the message there
    resides a story,
    its tenor a
    love song for

  4. I used to have a printout list of all the common acronyms stuck on the side of my computer tower. It went missing two housemoves ago, but I’m willing to bet that if I found it again it would be totally incomprehensible, like Chaucer in the original!

    A great prompt, and great poems so far, though Erin’s knocked me sideways with sympathy for her.

  5. I laughed, sympathetically, at your factual story, Marie. I still make that mistake, and often need to use “facsimile” to separate the two. Heck, I can recall Bing Crosby singing commercials for something called “thermofax’ as I recall, and the product was something that produced limp, wet, smelly sheets of plasticky paper.

  6. Emoticons

    Did feelings on computers spawn
    the cheery, wee emoticon?
    A smiley face is made when you
    type, “Colon and a ‘D’.” It’s true!
    And then, some folks might add a nose
    by putting em-dash in their ‘prose.’
    Now sadly, this might not translate
    on monitors: an ascii trait.
    Besides, with Windows versus Mac,
    it’s easy to just lose the knack
    for making one’s emotions clear.
    That’s why there’s tech support. No fear.
    So, try it. Google, “Smiley face,”
    you’ll get a page; a knowledge base,
    for keyboard input to present
    the world with cuteness while you vent.
    The word is really portmanteau:
    Emotion/icon. Now you know. 😀


  7. On the Blink

    (I recently heard this phrase “on the blink”)

    My dishwasher is on the blink
    Might even be depressed a little
    Refusin’ to wash our dishes
    Could be offended at my sink

  8. IMHO
    This is a disclaimer of sorts,
    see, I’m not claiming this to be fact
    I’m just tactfully stating my thoughts;
    It’s just a mustering of my beliefs-
    my own meaningful mental ramblings.
    They’re little truths I live by
    given respectfully
    in my humble opinion
    and you don’t have to live by them-
    ply them or rely on them;
    I’m just sayin’
    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013
    Interestingly, “IMHO,” is an acronym that I first saw when Marie used it, (a few years ago now)! I either asked her the meaning or looked it up and when I saw the word “humble” planted there I said, (mentally), that’s so fitting for Marie to say. It’s always held a little warm “Marie-Memory,” for me.

    I’ve never told you that, have I, Marie!!? 😉 ♥

  9. Acrobatic Acronyms

    Acrobatic acronyms
    Flops ‘n flails out on a limb
    Manages a tightrope tandem walk
    And hardly even pales

    Silhouetted words
    Wrapped In cryptic codes creeping
    Shhh…it could be the CIA, chronically peeping

    The grammar police out on the prowl
    So watch who’s on your tail,
    Dot your I’s and cross your T’s because the FBI never fails

    Acronyms are not wimpy guys though
    But a full contact sport with rights,
    The NFL clocked at full speed sprinting
    Without remorse and you within it’s sight

    Flavored acronyms have great potential
    Bacon backflips, leaping lettuce and tumbling tomatoes all tucked in a BLT!
    Oh the great things all acronyms do for you and for me!

  10. If We Used Lost Words

    He headed for the bar
    so thirsty he knew
    he could drink a homerkin.

    His son was a bit of daydreamer
    his head always nubivaganting,
    his eyes glazed over in thought.

    His daughter had lost part of her visotactile
    and now had to learn to live murklins.

    His wife was senticous
    and he knew she would
    bring a scathefire
    down upon his head
    when he got home.

    He used to live in a plenisphere
    but that bubble popped long ago.
    He moved them to the ruricolous
    for a fresh start – he had high hopes
    for a novaturient with the family
    he loved.

    Lost words used and their definition:
    Homerkin – old liquid measure for beer
    Murklins – in the dark
    Novaturient – desiring changes or alterations
    Nubivagant – moving throughout or among clouds
    Plenisphere – a perfect sphere
    Ruricolous – living in the country or in fields
    Scathefire – great destructive fire
    Senticous – prickly or thorny
    Visotactile – involving both touch and vision

  11. With cell phones and texting to go
    So many acronyms, although
    I compute
    To me they are moot
    Lol’s all I need to know

  12. The Web of tech. lingo

    Just saw yur pic on FB
    me–ROTF LOLing


    u twerk like
    a pigeon ; )


    btw, I need a fb
    widget, ru free
    to school me on WP
    idk web.

    PM or Txt me.

    (this is the kind of message I get from my son and I’m left scratching my head. lol.)

  13. LOL

    Lots Of Luck or
    Lots Of Love:
    Which is it?

    On an unplanned fast
    For four days
    Send me
    Lots Of Lunch

    Enough to catch up
    To Lots Of Laughter
    When Life offered Lots
    And I was perhaps too
    Looped On Liquor
    Lost Or Lazy

    Too dumb to understand
    We rise, we fall
    And no amount of
    Lots of Luck or
    Lots of Love
    Can save us
    If we decide on

    Living Off Less
    Of what matters
    Allowing life to blind us
    To our spiritual
    Longing Offered Liberally
    By a Lord of Love


    (true story)

    -I’ve just talked to Ms. Potts from next door…
    -And she needs us to help her once more…
    -Greece and Turkey she’s going to,
    and she asked me and you
    to take care of her porch plants galore.
    -Grease a turkey she’s going to…
    -And she asked me and you
    to take care of her porch plants?..
    -Galore. Yes.

    *Communication(s) Handling Facilities

  15. Old Man’s Dictionary

    By David De Jong

    I remember a time when love
    Was celebrated with marriage
    Honored with patience, forgiveness
    And self control. Supported with
    Admiration and high regard
    True love was unconditional
    Inseparable, undying,
    For better, or Lord forbid, worse.

    Love has become cheap, self centered
    Mistaken, misplaced, misguided.
    Replaced instead with brokenness
    Shattered dreams for what was to be.
    Families scattered into the wind.
    Leaves fluttering between each storm,
    We wonder, ponder, we debate;
    Why our world is preoccupied
    In delusions, divorce, and hate.

  16. LMAO

    Leaving Marlboro ashes outside

    Letting my attitude out

    Learning “manners” are OVER

    Lingering mistletoe annually, overtly

    Lifting my ass off
    lounger, mostly after October

    Luminous mysteries are overdue…

    © 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
    For Walt and Marie Elena’s Poetic Bloomings, taking on the ‘LOL’s of our world. A few alternatives! Peace, Amy

  17. Doing It Cellphone Style
    By: Meena Rose

    I ❤ u, bay-b
    hey luv, ❤ u2

    4ever nd ever?
    longer dan ever :*

    wanna no bout Lyf?
    tell mii

    Lyf iz gud wid u
    cu@8 GTG boss iz here

    I read these messages and weep
    For a language and a discipline
    Which calls for taking one’s time
    To form a complete thought and
    Convey it with class and elegance.

    I read these messages and weep
    For a medium which has cheapened
    Love and made a travesty of it.
    Once upon a time, “I Love You” were the
    Hardest words for anyone to say.

    I read these messages and weep
    For a culture spinning so fast
    That now patience has become the
    Lost of art of the Ancients and thoughtfulness
    Is nothing but a collection of snagged moments.

    The formatting got distorted on top. To see with formatting, please visit:

  18. Time Savers

    I love my new computer. When it works, it’s just the best
    to keep me up-to-date with work and friends and all the rest.
    But I’m not from Computerland where acronyms must flourish,
    and catchy phrases leave me cold (and slightly undernourished).

    My bytes and megs and gigabytes have only made me munchy,
    as if I’ve had no bites at all, my storage feeling brunchy.
    I worry always for my drives (no car is put in play),
    and I have engines searching, storing info night and day.

    I used to compute in my robe, for which a felt quite blessed.
    Now, thank you Skype , I must wear shirts (no one can see the rest).
    Geeks ask me how much RAM I have. Isn’t this personal?
    They want to see how fast I am, if I’m reversible.

    Sometimes if I feel lonely, I let social networks clog;
    I’m Linked in, Facebooked, youtubed, googled (still without a blog),
    but what I most resent about speedy technology
    is feeling nanoseconds pass with much anxiety.

  19. LOL


    It doesn’t matter
    if it’s only on the outside.

    C lown
    L aughing
    O ut
    W hen
    N ecessary

    Ellen Knight 11.3.13
    a LOL poem for PB

  20. Acronyms

    By David De Jong

    I confess embarrassingly
    Acronyms make no sense to me
    There’re a few I can decipher
    But most give my head a swiper
    I refrain their use, stick to words
    With my luck, I’d probably curse
    LOL, that’s easy, I know
    But ask; just how long will this go?
    All I see said is IDK

  21. LQTM

    The litmus tests for generations
    may vary—Baby Boomers,
    Millennials, Generation X or Y,
    the Greatest Generation—
    digital natives, digital immigrants,
    the differences distinguishable
    in the dexterity of our thumbs.

    While the younger folks use LOL
    or the hyperbolic ROTFL, we
    not-so-hipsters still laugh ha ha.
    Except in my quiet moments,
    as I mature, restrained LQTM*

    *Laugh quietly to myself.

  22. MAJCOM

    Welcome to MAJCOM
    Are you the newbie?
    Is this your first PCS?
    Processed through CBPO?
    Done with your OJT?
    Well, I’m the HMIC
    And I’m on call 24/7
    Here’s your SOP
    And your PFE
    If you wanna’ be an NCO
    You gotta study them books
    And take your SKT
    Now here’s your assignment
    Get’r’done ASAP
    By COB today
    Oh, by the way
    If you have a POV
    Park it in the HQ lot
    Next to AAFES
    Have a good day

    © 2013 Earl Parsons

  23. G Is for Grin

    He did this g thing.
    We’d smile but he’d g.
    Sometimes he’d enthuse
    with two gs, like gg,
    or after a tipple or three,
    he’d dissolve into 3gs,
    like ggg.
    And then there were the big Gs.
    I mean, gee whiz,
    all those gs and Gs,
    it was enough to reduce you
    to tears and drop you
    laughing on your knees.
    He just couldn’t grin
    like normal smiling folk;
    he had to do Gs.

  24. TPA
    (To Proud to Ask)
    or When Ignorance is not Bliss!

    Three days of induction
    To understand my new function
    There was a lot of FYI
    And jargon from here to Dubai
    But the mystery that plagued me
    Was all about the coffee and tea
    TCMF they said
    And it rattled in my head
    For they referred to the bedrooms trays
    That had replaced the room service days
    Tea, coffee, milk and fingers of shortbread?
    The quandary kept me awake in bed
    So I waited for it again to come up
    And poured myself another cup
    Tea, coffee and effing cocoa?
    TBH I don’t really think so!
    Then someone said it long-hand
    And at last I could understand
    When they talked about counting the stock
    And my pride stood intact as a rock
    For I never did let the cat out of the bag
    That the jargon had caused me a snag
    And that it was way beyond my abilities
    To name the tea and coffee making facilities


  25. Many years ago the late Willard Espy wrote a wordplay column for Writer’s Digest. He occasionally published verse from folks who used some of the obscure and archaic words he wrote about. I submitted a few, and this was printed in March 1990:

    Pedalling steadily at the rear,
    I watch your ever-churning feet;
    then gaze along your legs to where
    your double-jugg devours the seat.

    “Double jugg” referred to the buttocks.

    If anyone does not know who Espy was, the following may be of interest:

  26. RMMA

    sometimes it seems
    my BFIP
    (Best Friend In Poetry)
    I made that up,
    sue me)
    is thinking
    what I am thinking
    but saying it
    in a way
    I wish
    I could say it.

  27. gilu

    busy partners in parenting,
    we often email scheduling nonsense:
    moved kids’ dentist appt to tuesday 3pm
    need you to be home friday a.m. for bug guy
    date night next week! grammy will have the kids!
    7pm wednesday: school awards

    to these you clack:
    “got it. love you.”

    a tiny reminder
    that you’ve always got my back
    my heart.



    Shortcuts in texts–not unheard of.
    LOL is a good one to speak of.
    Unless it’s misunderstood
    then you’ve done no good,
    when she thinks it means lots of love.

    • I thought it was funny. Not one for nicknames or pneumonics, I can understand the cause for confusion. I can only imagine what she think ROFLMFAO means. And it has nothing to do with Lucky Strike cigarettes!


    Fuzzy wuzzy WYSIWYG,
    not too small; not too big.
    What you see is what you get,
    just make sure you don’t get them wet!

    WYSIWYG, he was a bear,
    no shoes, no socks, no clothes to wear,
    What you see is what you get,
    He’ll be the barest bear, you bet!

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