Tuesday, July 14, 2009

E HA

We need to do something about laughing online. And I think it might be to become better writers who can communicate tone without typing out the reverberations of our laughter. (I say our because I am a little bit guilty. "A little bit" because I'm not bashful about saying that I'm less at fault than so many others.)

And though we employ electronic laughter to make up for unspecific tone, one reason it is lame substitute for better written expression is that it may not necessarily communicate what you intend it to:
• When I read Heh, heh, heh. as laughter, I think of a dirty old lech thinking sordid thoughts and keeping nasty secrets.

• When I read Hee, hee, hee! I think of an elf or a fairy or a Brownie snatching a snack from an unsuspecting picnicker.

• When I see Tee hee! the image that comes to mind is a little girl with blond ringlets perched on a cushion--a Miss Muffet sort of picture.

• Ha ha ha! seems like real laughter to me, but pretty boisterous. A loud, echoing laughter, when you might have been intending to convey a chuckle.
Rather than writing out our laughter, I wish for us to be able to write what we mean to say with the tone we intend it to have and avoid having to result to attaching LOLs and emoticons. But because it can be so tough to communicate tone when writing, especially writing online because it tends to merit less consideration and spawn laziness, we all know that it's simple if not downright common to read the wrong meaning into something.

A fat helping of what I write here is tongue-in-cheek. I'm automatically cynical and quick to be sarcastic, but I can almost guarantee that there are plenty of readers that leave Remarks from Sparks having missed the point entirely. For the most part, that's my fault; for if some readers often leave muddled, I did a poor job communicating, and to get better I need practice and time and commitment to a message or theme.

And so, I believe, do many others. But until then, we're all subjecting ourselves to laughter that only just might say what you mean it to say.

(I have a ten dollar bet with myself that the first response on this post will include some kind of typed out laughter. Don't disappoint me as I now let you loose to leave all the Heh, heh, hehs and Ha ha has your wry inner selves are itching to slap in a comment. LOL.)

15 comments:

mommablogsalot said...

I love your descriptions about the different types of laughter - heh heh heh in particular has always bugged me. When I was out there in the dating field I used to sort of judge my various boyfriends by their internet-speak - and as weird as that sounds, it often spoke volumes about them. Some of those heh heh heh-ers were kind of lecherous dirty such and suches, you know?

I'll admit I tend to resort to the LOLs because none of the four examples ever quite fit - but you can bet I'll be on the lookout for a better option now!

Oh, and for good measure, hahaha hohoho and tee hee hee - but no heh hehs, those are just creepy.

Jaime said...

One reason I hate texting... misunderstanding the tone ugh(when I say ugh in my mind it's like hmmm whats it like I will get back to you on that one)

Ashley Thalman said...

Unless you come up with your own private online laughter....like us. That, my friend, is hard to mistake.

Alicia said...

I like E-heh vs E-ha. That's my most common Laugh Out Loud when reading something amusing online. Unless I am boisterously laughing at someone, which is not very often, I use Hah. Or if it's really funny, in my mind I'm bustin' up laughing, it's an outburst of BAHahaha... But I agree that "laughs out loud" are most often misinterpreted.

Shelby Lou said...

You forgot the snake laugh! tssssss-ss-ss-ssss. Really it's a good one. In real life I laugh like a hiccup. It's weird. Kind of like I am gasping for air between each laugh. The heh heh heh one is true. I think of a little chester molester, but sometimes I do it because for me it is funny. The way I read it, it makes me laugh. LOL! - irritating yet?

Lindsey V said...

For me 'lol' is the most annoying of them all. I don't know why. In fact, that's the first time I have ever typed it out. And it was hard to do because I hate it so much.

I also wish that we didn't need the use of emoticons but sometimes things I write really could get taken wrong if the person just doesn't get it. So I have to use them sometimes.

Keli'i and Megan said...

LMAO.

rabidrunner said...

My favorite is Bwah hah hah hah! Bwah hah hah hah! All because it shows my inherent evility.

I'm with Lindsey on the LOL. When something is truly "laugh out loud" funny, it's worth using language to explain as such. Would you care for an example? I knew you would...

Now that was funny. So funny was it, that my frothy beverage was tipped over by that same frothy beverage coming out of my nose. Then as I bent to pick up the container holding the frothy beverage (still laughing), pressure was applied to my abdominal area thus forcing a flatulent. Being as I'm sitting on a plastic chair, the resonance and punch of said flatulence was one you'd be proud of. Would you like me to come over? So as we could laugh together?

I could just say LOL. That would save my keyboard from extra use.

[Morgan] said...

ha.

i find myself leaving the :) a lot. i hate doing it, but i feel so misread when i email or comment or even text. so, i typically add one to clear the air of any offense. lame i know.

your laughter definitions are perfect. although, i think the heh heh heh has a second intent, i laugh that way when i see a child doing something sneaky or out right adorable. like the recent picture of dotter and the peas. that made me do a heh heh heh.

Brandon and Julie said...

My least favorite is the "BAHAAAAAAAAAAAA!" It sounds similar to the "Bwahaha" that Rabid suggested, but its immensely obnoxious (not only do people type it out, they actually make the noise in every day conversation like its the cool new thing to do) and to me the kind of laughter that the Bible frowns upon.

tom lindsey said...

Personally, I find laughter a giant waste of time; time that could be spent cleaning closets, mopping under the fridge, and removing the gunk from the oven hood.

hee-haw!

meg said...

Tom you are just a barrel of useless laughter. So glad to have you around.

Megan, LMAO2.

meg said...

Rabid, did we just e-break The Fart Barrier in our relationship? Know what comes next? I think it's marriage. Or divorce. I can never remember which.

meg said...

And Ash, you're dead right--I know exactly what you mean in our e-has. I can ever hear it. You have a great laugh.

Markelle said...

I wish to write what I mean- to say what I mean even. It just doesn't seem to happen enough. (sigh) See! I need the E-emotions. Don't you dare ruin that for me. I already have enough complex's from reading your blog.