By staff writer Court Sullivan

Note: This was written in 2003, when AIM was popular, but the trendy laugh is still relevant for any keyboard application.

Keyboard laugh on the home keysLately, I’ve become acutely aware of just how big of a role Instant Messenger plays in the lives of those about 2 years younger than me on down. I went to visit my sister at Virginia Tech recently and apparently "signing off" is synonymous with "social chokehold" for freshmen. I mean, I thought it was bad when I used to put my own screenname on my buddy list and talk to myself when I was bored, but… actually wait, that’s way worse.

But seriously, I witnessed a first-hand conversation where a guy and girl were exchanging screennames in between making out on the dance floor at a frat party. Whew. Apparently this new form of courtship usually involves going home later and searching the person’s profile to find an actual first name.

So now I would like to share my personal alternative to the common forms of expressing laughter on the keyboard. This alternative involves the use of genuine physical reaction to something funny, unlike the generic use of "lol" and "haha" which demonstrate the ineffectiveness of unoriginality and the steady decline of expressive adolescent communication.

AOL Instant Messenger sex parody (AIM)courtjester5000: Randomness is key.

None of the following combinations are set in stone. The point is to have a different laugh every time. Perhaps out of abstraction comes more laughter.

courtjester5000: asdf;lkj

Make yourself at home (keys). Replace the traditional "lol" with a sign that you might have taken more time to laugh than to find any particular key. With the "home key laugh," you don’t have to give up your position to respond to three other IM’s in the next 10 seconds, but at least you were original.

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Note: Particular groups of international keyboard users may experience inversion of the typical "as" starting letters to ";l" since in many countries, right to left is standard literary direction.

courtjester5000: as;dlkfj;alskjfd

Repetition of home key laugh. Denotes extra energy towards standard laugh.

courtjester5000: as;lkfjw;elkna;slkn

Standard home key laugh moves into other rows slightly. Denotes evolution of home key laugh. Also spells the word "elk," a large deer home to Europe and Asia resembling the North American moose. Also has nothing to do with elk, but could possibly gain additional return humor points as a result.

courtjester5000: wj;eoifa;suvrcwn;aslkdn

Bears no resemblance to home key laugh. Starting key shows that initial excitement of laugh led keyboard user to stray from home keys immediately. Also contains the letters "suv," a large gas-guzzling American motor trend fuelled by the need to deplete one of the Earth’s most valuable natural resources by 2017.

courtjester5000: a;kls4ejr2]3o2asg0qvzx\;lk;3,klan;s

The "QWERTY laugh" involves the full range of keys, including extended use of obscure letters and symbols such as z, \, ], q, and x. More importantly, inclusion of numbers suggests wild and uninhibited laughter caused by involuntary hand spasms into nether-regions of the keyboard. Also contains the word "klan," which isn’t actually a word, rather a proper noun that could lend controversial interpretation to a rather harmless laugh.

courtjester5000: aysoid?hf;wlkena;slk&a;@#q;lkwqen32

A rare laugh indeed. Most likely a hoax in favor of garnering "originality." Note the improbability of the symbols ?, &, @, and # due to the fact that the shift key would have to have been consciously depressed. Keyboard laughter should evoke spur-of-the-moment physicality, not conscious decision-making. This person is mocking you with his laughter!

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courtjester5000: a;slkefn;2lk3rna
courtjester5000:
ktalsdpkb;cxkl;bljkxncvlknweijq

One of the most coveted laughs, the "double-entry laugh" denotes initial and extended follow-up laughter—perhaps because your joke was so good it had to sink in.

So next time you hit up IM, remember what’s trendy and new, because that’s what counts!

LOL! (Not!!)

More AIM Humor: The Golden Rules of IM, Part 1 »
The Golden Rules of IM, Part 2 »
Murphy’s Laws of IM »

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