Memo to my Gen-Z friends (and by Gen-Z I mean those of you post-Gen-X and Gen-Y…I know there’s some socio-hipster brandname® being used to stereotype this "generation" and that it’s not Gen-Z, but my 10-day old daughter is in my lap and it’s all I can do to type so I won’t bother to try to find out what it is).
So anyway, dear friends of the IM/text message age who don’t know life without the internet or Carson Daly: I know you’ve experienced life in such a way that tends to make the real world seem like a mere extension of the virtual world, but this is not, in fact, the case. I know this about you because of the way you talk. Last night I walked into my local Kroger food outlet and was immediately caught in the crossfire of a barrage of J/Ks being exchanged between two of your kind. "JK," he says. "You weren’t J/K," she says. "No really, J/K," he says.
And that’s not the worst of it. I have, with my own ancient 32-year old ears, heard more than one of you say the letters LOL in the place of what I assume we are supposed to believe would be laughter if, in fact, you had laughed rather than substituted for actual laughter the three letters LOL. This is excruciating. This is not living or speaking. This is not language. It’s certainly not laughter. I never believed the LOL hype when it was contained to computer screens – surely so many of you couldn’t actually be laughing out loud so often. Real comedy is too rare for that. And, as it turns out, you aren’t laughing out loud. You’re just LOLing.
And maybe it’s because real comedy is so rare that you’ve resorted to the LOL. When I look around at most of what we’re being sold in the name of comedy, I’m sad. Apparently the repeated gross-out bits and jokes about masturbation, bi-sexuality, and general jackassery are enough to make "the guys who brought you the 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad" the new comic geniuses. Pass. But that’s beside the point.
I love you Gen-Zers. No really, I do. I’m living with many of you. You’re hanging out in my house, becoming my kids’ heroes, and generally making my life better. You have much to offer us all. You will find (and already are) better ways of living and fresher ways of bringing hope and life and joy to the world. I’m just saying: let’s not leave real laughter – or real words – out of that. Deal?