Faberge

A Saturday Snippet

Remember the Cold Shoulder? It finally started to move after I wrote about it, but it was still excruciating, so on Sunday evening I decided to splash out with some of my tax refund and get a professional massage. It was great. I’ve been to this masseuse, but it’s been years. She said all kinds of encouraging things like how even though I was having a “pain episode” right now, I seemed better aligned than I had when I went to her before, and my “tissue feels healthier.” Is that weird? Is it weirder that I felt encouraged about this? I didn’t feel surprised, though–the last time I went to her my life was considerably more fraught than it is now.

After the massage I went home feeling very relaxed, but Masseuse-Chick recommended that I keep heating and icing the shoulder. Two days later, the cramp was finally almost gone–and that was when I noticed that my right arm wasn’t working. I had decided to try to work out again, and I discovered that it was excessively difficult to get my arm over my head for jumping jacks. Which is just absurd, as I think you’ll agree. Jumping jacks? Come on!

I called Dr H and after asking me some diagnostic questions, the answers to which convinced him I had had a stroke, he commanded me to zip down to his office right away to get the arm checked. After actually looking at it and trying some physical (instead of simply verbal) diagnostic tests, he revised his diagnosis to a “pinched nerve.” Apparently it was the nerve to my right tricep, such that the tricep was genuinely out of commission.

I’m pretty sure Masseuse-Chick would have taken exception to this treatment, and I myself prefer to avoid drugs where possible, but I’ve never had a pinched nerve before and I was discovering it was almost unbearable, so I actually went and filled the prescription for Prednisone which Dr H wrote out for me. My Paul was in a meeting all day so he didn’t know about any of this medical drama until he got home. When I told him what I was taking, he said, “Oh great. That stuff makes you blow up like a balloon!”

He is not wrong.

I’ve been eating more healthily lately, so I actually don’t weigh as much as I have in the last few months, but suddenly my torso looks like an alien life-form attached itself to my midriff. Forget about curves. It’s like I ate one of my Paul’s beloved pillows and, cartoonlike, I suddenly look like one.

I thought maybe I could go 1980’s East German Olympian, but instead? It appears I will be precisely the shape of an egg (with limbs) for Easter. Then you can dress me up in any one of my colourful dresses and call me Fabergé.

It's a new design.

It’s a new design.

BizarroWord – A Jenn Initiative

A Saturday Snippet

Drumroll, please . . .

So, it turned out to be good that only three people played

BizarroWord

because it was really time-consuming to score! Bas’ entry looked promising with some hilarious definitions, particularly for exodthem and conclthemion. (I kind of resonate with his version of conclthemion. I can only wish I had finally arrived at that point. Still coughing. And waiting.) But there were a couple of words that went undeciphered . . .

JT scored extra points (what? it’s my game!) for making me literally lol with Bettheyen–and citing Trees in the Pavement in his definition. Also, he was the first person to point out my original misspelling of constitution (constitusion?!) which contributed to the BizarroWord. But he left some of his words without illustrating sentences . . .

And then, new to The Readership, onto the scene burst The Blurred Line! (Can blurs burst? I don’t know. Don’t argue.) Anyway. I think it’s safe to say she cleaned up. Here are her entries, reblogged. Victoria, congratulations! Message me at jenn@thatsajennstory.com so we can arrange your prize. I don’t think I thought through international entries very well . . . but you shall be rewarded. You shall . . .

The Blurred Line

Find And Replace like Reply To All can be a blessing and (more often) a curse. Perhaps a similar thing was the reason Shakespeare created so many new words in the English language. Perhaps it had more to do with bad spelling than dramatic flair?

bizarroJenn, from That’s a Jenn Story, invited me and anyone else who’d like to have a go to decipher her Found and Replaced words, discover a new meaning for each and then apply them in an example.

Come on, head on over and give it a bash! https://thatsajennstory.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/saturday-snippets-4/

CorrectedOriginalDefinitionUsage
exodthem exodus(vulgar) ex-sod-emAn expletive used to express irritation at a group of people.If they can take a joke exsodem all!
bettheyen between(noun) beth-ey-enBased on the Hebrew for house meaning a 1950s type wife and homemaker who always has a cold beer for her man…

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You Can Breathe Again Now

Wordy Wednesday

Just wrapping up business over here today. First item:

BizarroWord

Did you forget you were going to enter this game?

You have a total of two (2) days to submit your entries to BizarroWord–a game I made up in the throes of illness, and which may just make you the proud owner of either an autographed copy of Trees in the Pavement or a batch of apple muffins. Go ahead. Nothing to lose, everything to win! (Well, okay, only one thing, really, but one is still more than zero.) Plus I was really hoping to get to judge between more than three contestants–although all three of their entries are awesome, so it’s not like there isn’t actually competition . . . Probably you’re all just waiting to inundate me on Friday. That’s it, isn’t it?

But wait. You don’t know how to play, you say? Just click on that snazzy little badge above and scroll down a bit. You’ll see it.

Second Item of Business:

I got my second Favored One rejection letter today. On the basis of the two (2) rejection letters I’ve gotten this month, it seems to be the “thing” these days to apologise that you’re rejecting someone’s novel via form letter–and then to mention, politely, that there is no way in heck they’re going to give you any more personalised feedback; in other words, don’t bother contacting them again.

I don’t really mind the form letter. It makes sense to me. I just don’t think there’s any real way to reject someone (or someone’s work–but a writer often sees herself and her work as one and the same) gracefully, so these extraneous apologies strike me as superfluous–and also kind of funny.

This approach works just as well.

This approach works just as well.

Third Item of Business:

Yes, I actually did use my afternoon to write last Tuesday. I know–some of you who were here before the Great Reblog have been holding your breath this whole time. You can breathe again now. I didn’t get a lot written, but I discovered I actually do have some ideas for a series of interconnected YA novels which I’m starting to get pretty excited about. I’m also getting excited about the excitement, I think–I haven’t had a story actively batting around my head in quite some time, and now I think I might have two (2)!

I also discovered three different beginnings to a novel idea I had in 2005. Unfortunately, now it’s 2013, and my handle on London slang and “foreign English” (by which I mean different linguistic quirks in English within different ethnic groupings of people learning English as Another Language) has pretty much slipped. This is unfortunate because most of the characters spoke in varieties of these two (2) “Englishes.” It means I’m not sure I can ever get this story going again. Which is a shame, because all three beginnings were awesome. At least I don’t have to pick one now, I guess.

What are your Items of Business for the day?

Wordy Wednesday has been brought to you today by . . . words, and by the number two (2). Apparently.

Facebook + Love = Oil + Water

Welcome to the first Tuesday Reblog at the Jenn stories!
I’m happy to say this post doesn’t apply to me really, anymore, but I still can completely remember when it did!

Please leave comments on the Black and White and Read All Over blog. Thank you.

BLACK, WHITE & READ ALL OVER

find_love_facebookTake it from a man who was married 3 times before he was 28 years old; relationships are tough.  Living with someone and sharing everything with them, is a whole lot harder than it looked when I was watching The Cosby Show and Family Ties.  Cliff Huxtable and Steven Keaton made being in a relationship seem easy and effortless.  Nobody prepared me for disagreements about me leaving the toilet seat up or the fact that she didn’t understand not to talk to me during football season.  With divorce rates already at 50% the last thing relationships needed was another pitfall to dodge

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Tell Me a Story

Memory Monday
"Frances said, 'I want a glass of milk . . . '"

“Frances said, ‘I want a glass of milk . . . ‘”

You wanna know how the Jenn stories got started? I’ll tell you how:

You already know that when I was four I announced to my mother that when I grew up I wanted to make stories and pictures like Elsa Beskow.

You already know that when I was seven I told my mother that I could use my story-telling talent for God by “writing like C.S. Lewis.”

But really, the stories started even before that.

I’ve always enjoyed a good story. Somewhere in a box at my parents’ house, no doubt, there is still a audio-cassette tape of one of our Honduran Christmases which my parents later sent on to their parents to help them feel like they were still in the lives of their only grandchildren. On this cassette, you can hear my parents urging me on in my gift-opening and asking me what each present is. I receive a lot of books. Eventually one of my parents says, “Jenny, do you want to keep opening presents, or do you want to take a little break and read some of your books.”

I am two years old. How many two-year-olds do you know who would even have to have that question asked of them? Or who would answer the way I do, on this cassette.

“Read books,” I say, without missing a beat.

So I guess it’s not too surprising that I enjoyed my bedtime stories all throughout childhood. Also, I was afraid of going to bed. I got lots of nightmares, so I thought there were Bad Dream Things that lived between the bed and the wall and if I rolled over too close to the wall in my sleep, they’d take over and give me Bad Dreams. No kid ever wants to go to bed, but I was legitimately afraid of my nighttime. When saying my prayers before bed (after ascertaining that, although there was a word for Bad Dreams–Nightmares–there wasn’t one for Good Dreams, which just seemed to confirm my own experience), I began praying that God would give me “a good sleep with Happy Dreams.” Sometimes He agreed.

Therefore, I would beg for more and more and more stories. Sometimes my dad would have mercy and make one up off the top of his head, but eventually the time always came when he or my mother would say it was absolutely time to go to sleep, and they would turn the light out, leave the door open “a crack,” and step out into the hallway.

Sometimes, however, I just couldn’t fall asleep. I came up with all sorts of excuses, worthy of any Frances out there. Finally, my mother struck upon an idea.

One evening I got up and trundled as usual down the terrazo-tiled hallway to the livingroom. “Can you tell me another story?” I asked. I have no doubt my parents rolled their eyes. Then my mother said,

“No. But why don’t you go back to bed and tell yourself a story?”

I suspect I probably protested this, but eventually I went back down the hall, climbed back into my bed, and began telling myself a story. Out loud. Very, very out loud. It was about Talking Animals going on a picnic, I think, but even though I tried to tell myself this same story many more nighttimes, I never did get to find out what happened in it, because by the time I got past delineating all the characters who were attending this picnic, I was fast asleep . . .

Saturday Snippets #5

A. Reblogs

Not to sound pathetic or whiny or anything, but I’ve been blogging since 2006 and though I have garnered a fairly loyal The Readership, it has always also been somewhat small. The most hits I’ve ever had on this blog in one day (and it was the most by far) was 212, the time I wrote about my Paul’s and my engagement. In the months following our wedding, The Readership shrank quite a bit, and my Paul said (not as unkindly as it looks in writing), “It’s because before you were this edgy single blogger, and now you’ve turned into a boring married person.”

I suspect there’s something to that, although I think “edgy” may have been a complimentary overstatement. Then within the last couple of months I created a Blog Schedule (and wrote a post entitled “The Hate of God“–there, that’s edgy) and The Readership has grown and remained steady. Still not large, but respectable.

Then this week, two other bloggers decided (independently of each other, I believe) to reblog two of my posts on their own blogs. Which was ridiculously nice of them, if you ask me. Kiley (you know, Fictionary-Kiley?) reblogged me over the weekend, I think, and then Opinionated Man reblogged my “Single Subconscious” post. After he did that, my blog saw 211 hits–just one shy of those for the engagement post. And I would just like to say here:

Thank you, Kiley and Opinionated Man!

and

Welcome, new The Readership! I’m super-stoked you’re here!

(Not just because I’m a little pathetic and needy, but also because you all seem like really interesting people and I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas with you.)

These skyrocketing blog stats go to show a) that the Opinionated Man has a really popular blog and that b) my Paul is probably right that people want to read about relationships.

The thing is, I kind of feel like I’ve negated my relationship-writing cred. I’m no longer single, so I can’t really write much about that anymore (lest people like the single person I once was say, “Yeah, well, that’s easy for her to say. She got married!”), and I haven’t been married long enough to really sound off with marital wisdom. And frankly, although I don’t mind telling sweet marriage stories, I don’t think that I could make a steady writing diet of relationship stories without damaging my own relationship. So . . . you guys are stuck with Memory Monday, Wordy Wednesday, Theology Thursday, Family Friday and Saturday Snippets.

But here’s something I am going to change. It was such a boon to be reblogged by Kiley and Opinionated Man, that I am realising that (in spite of my smaller readership) maybe I could help out some other bloggers by reblogging, too. So Tuesday shall be Tuesday Reblog. Which I know does not alliterate, but there should be something different, yea verily, even distinctive about it, since it’s other people’s stories and not the Jenn stories, right? I’m going to start this Tuesday (and delete my sidebar blogroll, which is just to hard to keep up with).

I’ll be perusing your blogs for reblog material, but if you have a post you’re particularly proud of that you’d like me to consider, please send me a link!

B. Our Fair City

The other day I was running errands for work and just about to make a right-hand turn when I was slowed down considerably by a guy, probably in his 20’s, half in and half out of the driver’s side of his car, pushing it through the intersection. It didn’t seem to be going too well, but probably part of the problem was that he seemed to ascribe to that male habit that started in the 90’s, of wearing his trousers down around his bum. The thing was, his pushing the car was causing his trousers to fall lower and lower, such that I’m pretty sure the bottom hem of his plaid boxer shorts was visible above the waistline of his jeans, and at any moment the whole ensemble was going to be around his ankles. I turned the corner before I had to watch that disaster happen.

I thought about this as I continued on my merry way (made merrier by the ridiculousness I had just seen) and, shaking my head, said to myself–not for the first time, “Is that even in style anymore?”

The thing is, in Our Fair City, such a question is totally irrelevant. People still walk around here wearing mullets, a hair “style” they have continuously sported since its debut in the 1980’s, without irony. The boys in the Youth Group (at least some of them) still flaunt their boxers, with their “Pants on the Ground.” It’s like every example of bad taste gets embraced here and then never leaves.

Our Fair City has a few nicknames, the favourite (at least in some circles which I frequent) being “Paris of the 80’s.” This name I think was not coined in jest, but most people now use it with equal measures fondness and irony. I love that nickname–I think it’s hilarious–but I would like to recommend a fall-back:

Our Fair City: Museum of Questionable Taste

And now, a relevant-but-appropriately-outdated public service announcement:

~~~~~~~~~~

Note: Our Fair City also has more than its share of hidden gems, but . . . for the most part they’re hidden, which makes finding them all the more delightful, but also makes the above nickname still seem like it fits.

C. BizarroWord!

Don’t forget to send in your submissions to

BizarroWordYou’ve got seven days left . . .

The Cold Shoulder

Family Friday

Okay, so this isn’t so much about my family, but it is about Just Regular Life at Home–which doesn’t flow as well as “Family Friday,” so let’s just be a little open-minded, okay?

Once when I was on a high school choir tour, I got a neck-cramp that made it really difficult to turn my head. Someone (I no longer have any idea who), said, “Oh, you have a cold in your neck.”

I was like, “What?” (It was the 80’s. We have to narrate like that when we’re talking about the 80’s.)

“You have a cold in your neck.”

For whatever reason, I decided this now anonymous person knew more than I did about this sort of thing, and so I took their diagnosis on board and started telling people I had a cold in my neck. But I kept wondering about it anyway. How did they know it was a cold? What made it a cold? It wasn’t like my neck was coughing or blowing its nose or anything–oh, because it didn’t have one. (That’s a weird visual . . . ) My doubts were furthered many years later when I had a similar neck spasm and told someone I had a cold in my neck and they looked at me quizzically and were like, “What?”

Thursday last week, as you know, I came down with a cold. (Or a clu. I’m still open to the idea that for once I had a clu.) (Heh.) Speaking of which, this is great opportunity to remind you that YOU SHOULD BE PLAYING

BizarroWord

C’mon. Give the other two contestants a run for their muffins.

Anyway, two days after this cold thing started, I woke with an excruciating pain in my right shoulder, and I thought, I do have a cold in my shoulder! This proves that Whoeveritwas was right! It was only fleeting satisfaction, though. Because the pain in my shoulder has proven to be less fleeting. It is now one week later and it still hurts just as much as it did that first day (more, in the mornings) and has made itself at home by spreading out and radiating down my arm and into my butt. I am trying ice. I am trying a heating pad. I have totally given up on painkillers (why would I medicate when they’re not doing a flippin’ thing?) I am trying to convince myself that I can afford a massage.

Also, it’s my right shoulder (and arm. and buttcheek). I am right handed. Fortunately, typing isn’t too strenuous. Everything else, though? Laundry? Washing dishes?

Hey, honeyyyyy . . . ?

Maybe I need some of This. Whatever This is . . .

Maybe I need some of This. Whatever This is . . .

What You’ve All Been Waiting For

Theology Thursday

Bas said it. Last week, he said now that I’d posted Part 1 of my Confessional Paper I was going to have to post the other two parts. Which is probably true, so, just in case it is, here’s Part 2:

Theology Proper: The Doctrine of God

February 2013

The Being of God

I believe God is who He is (Exodus 3.14)—unique among all beings, largely by virtue of the fact that His being is not contingent upon any other (Acts 17.24-25). God has always existed and will never cease to exist (Psalm 90.2). He does not change in His attributes or character or essence (Malachi 3.6).

The Trinity

I believe there is only one true God. All other so-called gods are pretenders (I Corinthians 8.4; Isaiah 44.8-17) or on occasion lesser beings—usually humans who are being described in connection to relationship to God Himself (John 10.34-35). However, this one God exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28.19). This doctrine is a mystery that cannot be fully explained or even comprehended (though I believe that with illumination—see Part 1—some understanding can occur even if it cannot be well-expressed in human terms).

The three Persons of God are not the same as each other, but they are qualitatively the same (John 10.30; 14.9). No one person within the Trinity is, in any qualitative sense, subordinate to another. God is not three in the same way in which He is one, so the contradiction in the assertion “God is three and God is one” is only apparent and not a real contradiction (Erickson, 363).

This three-in-one unity in which God has always existed is both the reason for His self-sufficiency and also the catalyst for His creative acts. As popular Christian writer Donald Miller says, “I know this makes God sound like a terrible narcissist, but my friend John MacMurray said to me recently that the most selfless thing God could do, that is, the most selfless thing a perfect Being who is perfectly loving could do, would be to create other beings to enjoy Himself” (Miller, Searching for God Knows What, 108). I believe this. I believe that the perfect love-relationship existent between the members of the Trinity is the reason for and the power behind true unity between humans and each other, and between humans and God. I believe that, in a perfect world, human relationships of love (particularly marriage) would reflect the loving unity within the Godhead (1 Corinthians 13).

The Attributes of God

God in His fullness is often described and worshiped according to His attributes of greatness and goodness (Psalm 47.2). His attributes encompass such things as omniscience (Romans 11.34) and omnipotence (Jeremiah 32.17) as well as wisdom (Romans 11.33) and faithfulness (Lamentations 3.21-23). His attributes can be divided into two types, described by some as Communicable and Incommunicable (Erickson, 292-3). God’s communicable attributes are those which, though on a lesser scale, humans may also possess, like love and trustworthiness. His incommunicable ones are those we cannot really “mirror,” like omnificence (we can create things, but not all things out of nothing) and omnipresence.

Some of God’s attributes are moral ones—the qualities He comprises which show us that He is good, as well as what goodness is. Others of His attributes are more descriptive of His power and authority over all of creation. Both sets of attributes are true of God and His character and quality never change (Malachi 3.6; Hebrews 13.8).

God is both immanent within and transcendent over His creation. His immanence means He is close at hand, working in and through His creation and communicating through it to those who are listening. He has also made Himself available to His people by filling them with His Holy Spirit and communicating through His written Word (Deuteronomy 30.11-14). He Himself is not created, however; therefore, He is not His creation. He transcends it, being “other” than it, uncreated, infinite (Jeremiah 23.23).

Creation

God is also talked about and described according to His works, which flow out of who He is. As uncreated, a separate entity from all else that is, God is omnificent—that is, He has created all things (Revelation 4.11). In the original creation, before the fall of humankind, all that was created was good (Genesis 1.31).

Ex Nihilo

By saying God has created all things, I imply and believe that everything external to God that exists was made by Him—all three Persons of the Trinity involved in the act of creation as they are in all of the Godhead’s attributes (I Corinthians 8.6; John 1.3; Genesis 1.2)—out of nothing that had previously existed (Colossians 1.16).

Continuing Creation

I believe God is not as the Deists used to proclaim Him—a watchmaker who set the world running and then went away; His immanence precludes that. Nor do I think there is any good reason to believe that God is constantly re-creating things at every instant—this belief is somewhat arbitrary and not logically necessitated by any of God’s attributes. On the other hand, I do believe that God continues His act of creating even to this day. I believe His creative acts at this stage in the history of Earth at least, are primarily in terms of the “new creation” and “new birth” within people’s hearts (Isaiah 43.19) when they are regenerated by faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 5.17). I also believe that God continues to make modifications in the existing physical creation, in part through the work of evolution.

Creation and Evolution

I believe in science’s “doctrine” of evolution up to a point. I do not believe that all creatures evolved out of one single-celled organism, although I believe God could have created that way, had He so chosen, and that it would not diminish His power and creativity. However, I believe that He did intentionally create different types of creatures, different species and families of plants and animals and even minerals, and that He is glorified by this diversity (Genesis 1.11-12, 20-25). I also believe, however, that creatures do evolve, not into completely different creatures, but into different sorts of the same creature. I suspect, however, that God is even directly and consciously involved in this type of evolutionary process, creating the genetics and the external circumstances to elicit the changes.

Creation and Providence

I believe God is still at work sustaining His creation (Hebrews 1.3; Colossians 1.17), because without His active sustenance, it would cease to exist. I believe that, as a loving, perfect, Triune being who selflessly created, He continues to selflessly maintain His work of creation until and through the creation of the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21.1).

Stunning Realisations

Wordy Wednesday

[As you can see, we’re trying out a new template/theme over here and it is precisely none of the ones I asked you to help me decide on last week. We’ll see how we like it for a little while, but by next Wednesday, who knows? We may have a whole new look all over again. Anyway, your feedback, as always, is greatly appreciated.]

On Monday I made a rather disheartening discovery about myself and my writing.

The Youth Group had a fundraiser that evening and so I stayed home during the day and did homework and stuff. But it’s the beginning of a new term, so I could only do so much reading ahead, you know? And I can’t get a head start on any projects when we haven’t even met for class yet and found out exactly what these projects are supposed to look like.

Thing is, I finished my reading for the week, and then I finished my reading for next week, and then I tried to think of a blogpost to write here, but the lingonberry one hadn’t occurred to me yet and I was forced to face the fact that . . .

I actually had time to start a new writing project.

And then I was forced to face the following fact that . . .

I didn’t want to.

It’s not that I don’t have ideas. I have ideas. I just have no idea how to start them. Also, I’m not convinced they’re overly compelling, and so I’m not convinced I can convince anybody else they are. (I’m having enough trouble over that with Favored One–for which, by the way, I finally got one rejection letter.)

I can’t tell you how relieved I was when I finally thought of that lingonberry post. Actually I can: only sort of relieved, because I still had hanging over my head the awareness that I could have written and I didn’t. Also, the awareness carried into Tuesday, on account of we had a snow day and also I am still sick so I was taking it easy by coughing my lungs out staying in my pajamas and under blankets on the couch. So I wrote this post to fill up some of the time. But I’m still more than caught up with my homework and even regular work, and at 9.46 a.m., I still had the whole day ahead of me.

Take a guess. Did I start work on a new novel, or not?

That is the question (mark).

That is the question (mark).

LOL (Lingonberries of Lusciousness)

Memory Monday

lingonberries-with-green-leaves

I am an American of Swedish (and German, and a heck of a lot of other things) extraction . . . but my maternal Grandmother is Swedish and makes sure everybody knows it, so that’s kind of the alternate-nationality (alternationality?) with which I identify. Well, that, and English, since I lived over there for so long.

The first year I lived in London, I went to visit some friends in Sweden over Christmas and discovered that they had at least as many traditions associated with the holiday as I had had growing up, but that not many of them bore a very striking resemblance to the traditions as we observed them in our family, which had always been presented to us as “Swedish.” It didn’t matter much. I had a great time that Christmas in Sweden, but I also have an entire lifetime of happy Christmas memories which, apart from the birth of Jesus, largely pivot around traditions which I guess are more Swedish-immigrant traditions than anything else. (That’s kind of cool, too, if you think about it.)

One of these traditions is a Christmas Eve meal which is comprised of deliciously comforting peasant fare presented so elegantly you feel like you’re eating the rarest delicacies. There are also multiple courses. The first course is usually my favourite, I think, and it involves various cheeses and knäckebröd (Swedish hard tack) and limpa (Swedish rye bread) and sil (Swedish pickled herring) and lingonberries.

By now, everyone’s been to Ikea and tried lingonberries (and horse meatballs?), but when I was a kid not too many, if any, of my friends had heard of this fruit and I myself didn’t like it very much. Lingonberries come in a jar in a condition similar to un-gelled, chunky, cranberry sauce. The reason I didn’t like lingonberries as a kid was because they look a whole lot like cranberries (which I loved), and they taste almost like cranberries, but . . . then they don’t. Intellectually I knew not to expect them to taste like cranberries, but somehow I could never get my tastebuds on board with this realisation, and the weird, almost . . . I dunno . . . fleshy aftertaste just did me in every time.

I bring this up to illustrate (very very tenuously) my approach to the acronym lol. I know, this acronym hit the interwebs practically before there were even phones to text on, so it’s not like it’s a new thing or anything (although occasionally you still stumble across a story where someone discovered via awkward social snafus that it doesn’t stand for lots of love). My first experience with lol was via some letters by a young Hungarian woman I had known in Nannyville before I moved to London, and she peppered her missives with it. I didn’t like it because it seemed like a verbal tick, was used apparently arbitrarily, and it also looks like the word loll, which (unlike cranberries) has kind of stupefying and negative connotations.

Also, I didn’t know what it meant. So I asked her. Finding out did not help my impression any. Lol? Seriously? Are you telling me to laugh out loud? Because that seems rather presumptuous. Are you laughing out loud? Because your jokes aren’t really that funny. Was laugh out loud some kind of expression young people in the United States had started saying to each other, which I was missing because I had moved to London (thank goodness), before it was turned into an acronym? Because let’s face it, folks. It’s a clunky expression. But spontaneously generating an acronym like that without a preceding expression? Was just kind of hard for me to fathom. Still is, actually. I guess I still associate it with loll. I picture some person struck dumb with amazement at a cleverer person’s joke, tongue hanging out of their mouth, eyes glazed over, but still laughing a little bit maybe.

I don’t think my impression of lol is ever going to change. It’s pretty deeply rooted, and the actual word that I associate it with has no positive connotations for me, unlike cranberries have and which may or may not be why I now like lingonberries.

I’m not going to lie, though. I just saw the first entry to my BizarroWord contest, and I totally lol-ed. Multiple times, even. I admit it.

See if you can make me lol again. The rules are right here, under this badge (LOL).

BizarroWord