My Irish Up: Slang-uage

Mike Corrigan

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist

The main reason I don’t hang with the cool kids is I don’t get their lingo anymore, you dig? Any phrase that came later than “groovy,” I find pretty much mystifying, leaving me “one fry short of a Happy Meal,” as the in-crowd says these days. Or, possibly not.

All these recently-minted (since 1957) neonyms have caused me anxiety and distress, and I’m thinking of suing somebody. In fact, I haven’t actually spoken aloud to a real person in four years, for fear they’ll say something back that I won’t understand, or that I will. However, this self-isolating tactic doesn’t work on the Internet. A correspondent once wrote me, “You’re the only person I ever knew who uses correct grammar on the Net.” I didn't know whether to be proud or just respond “lol.” Then they continued, “Wut’s WRONG w/u, anywho?” So I typed back “lol.”

Which is another problem: this Internet shorthand. I am just figuring out what some of the letter groupings mean — although I notice that Wikipedia claims the abbreviations themselves went out of fashion eight or ten years ago. No one is surprised that I am “abbott” — or “a bit back of the times” on this. Here’s what I think some key abbreviations mean, based on context.

lol — 1. loss of limb (appears mostly when texting your insurance agent, possibly one-handed); 2. Land o’ Lakes (for shopping lists) 3. left, off-line (often used with “brb”)

brb — 1. Barq's Root Beer (the drink, apparently, for way cool Net users on break)

rotf — 1. Ran off the freeway (?); 2. rest of text follows

lmao — 1. left my address off; 2. Look! Mao! (rarely used anymore)

wtf? — 1. Who’ll tell Frank?; 2. why the face?; 3. Where’s the fridge?

Mind you, I’m just guessing. That’s why I include several possible definitions. And the cool kids, still mad about the correct grammar gaffe, could well have changed some of these acronyms around without advising me. I wouldn’t put it past the “old sports!”

Making up for my “dearthness” of “subzero” on the acronym front, I must humbly note that I have been called (among other things) the world’s foremost expert in the esoteric field of slang verb tenses. It’s true!

Here are some special usages of slang I’ll bet you never thought of before, and henceforth may never be able to forget:

1. If the sentence, “Her arm is in a sling,” is correct, then, according to the methodology applied to the construction of irregular verbs, also correct could be… “Her arm was in a slang.” Hey, I don’t make these things up.

2. Correct: “His automobile must have been low-slung.” Correct grammatical response: “Yes, his 'ride' was 'low-slang'.”

3. It is correct to say, “He slung the football.” That enables verb and direct object to agree in the following “less formal” sentence: “He slang the pigskin.” He SLUNG the FOOTBALL! He SLANG the PIGSKIN!!! Get it? wtf? (3) I need a root beer!

Remember when Mike made sense? No, not in 1992, that other time.

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