To my knowledge, nobody had attempted to document the history behind the famous LOL acronym before this definitive piece I wrote on the 31st May 2008. The world will never need another chronicle now that this one has finally seen the light of day.
“The History of LOL”
The well known term LOL is of course an acronym for “laugh out loud”. Used by many, loved by all, this wonderful little package is commonly deployed in a sentence or simply uttered solitarily to inject a degree of mirth unattainable by any other utterance in the vast ocean of variables that is human communication. Mainly used in regard to online correspondence, it has also made the recent crossover into text speak via the electronic communications device known as the mobile telephone. Yet, as widely circulated as it is (having seen usage in places as far away as Easter Island and Wales), very few know the story of its origins, and what a story it is.
The phrase was first coined in 1724 by Hugo Lollygager who used it for many years as a slogan for his father’s shoe lace business in Boston, Bulgaria. In 1792 the rights to the phrase were sold to Frederick R Flockmann of Munich, Australia for the competitive price of four pre-plucked chickens and a half barrel of rat oil. Flockmann subsequently copyrighted the term and unsuccessfully attempted to exchange it for credit at a Las Vegas, Norway casino. Little was done with the term save for several equally unsuccessful advertising campaigns for the Smithsonian Bicycle Helmet Institute in New York, Kazakhstan. In 1842 the copyright ran out on Flockmann’s LOL and his estate chose not to renew their legal hold on the terminology due to their recent bankruptcy stemming from the infamous fall of the Trinidad Union in Soviet Luxembourg.
Unwanted, LOL remained unused for several decades hypothetically gathering dust until the first home computer was invented in 1888 by Jack the Ripper Conglomerate™ in collaboration with the White Chapel Trust. Jack the Ripper Conglomerate™, White Chapel Trust and a group of Japanese investors took over the copyright for the term LOL and used it in online chat rooms from 1888 right up until the great broadband depression of the 1920s. After the CEO of Jack the Ripper Conglomerate™ committed suicide by jumping off the 113th floor of the Empire State Building in Birmingham, Sweden, the company soon went bust and the internet as well as the home computing world vanished into obscurity never to be seen again until they were both reinvented by accident in 2010 by an Italian baker named Pablo Prosciutto who was trying to make sourdough bread. LOL was once again, without an owner.
In 1951 LOL briefly made an appearance in the world of music as it was used (without permission it must be noted) by Elvis Pressme in his single “Blue Suede LOL”. The song was a hit but when the authorities discovered that Pressme had been using the term without the consent of the copyright owners (a holding company named Pinocchio’s Wang who purchased the liquidated stock of Jack the Ripper Conglomerate™ after its demise), the song and any mention of it was removed from almost all public records and Pressme was jailed for 20 years in the Tower of London in Cape Town, Spain.
1973 ended up being the year that LOL would once again find itself dusted off and thrust back into the public consciousness, this time thanks to the world of pornography. Jeremy “Itchy” Jameson purchased the rights and began using the term to describe his low budget adult movies. His logic being that if his best attempts at erotic entertainment were in fact, as the critics claimed, “pathetic”, then his rebranding of them as “Laugh Out Loud funny” would secure the public’s interest in them. This proved to be a lucrative gamble as he soon became the 2nd richest man in the world after 1970s Ukrainian pop sensation Marginally-Malformed Mikael Mistrovski.
The rights to use LOL were quickly leased out to other corporations and international syndicates and the hysteria simply snowballed. Everyone was talking about LOL, from Mitchell Jackson (his smash hit record Chiller clearly being a concept album based on LOL) to Emmanuel Sandwich (who dedicated his 1982 Wimbledon win to LOL). It was the first word spoken on the moon when the Portuguese finally landed there in 1992. Even Dubai in the United Scottish Emirates is founded on the right to LOL whenever one wishes and whose famous annual LOLpalooza festival brings in tens of billions of Canadian dollars to the Help the LOL Foundation which benefits those who have never LOLed before. The success of LOL has continued right up to the present day where it has consistently gained momentum and become the most well known and overused word in the history of the English language.
Today, the term LOL has been translated into 74 different languages including Egyptian, Latin, Croatian, German and Sub-English (for the 78% of the internet using public who cannot and will not read or write properly). Plans for the future of LOL are brighter than ever and include a television series based on its thrilling history staring William Shatner and a hologram of Jack Lemmon, a range of denim sportswear, a his and hers fragrance aimed at the 18-30 year old demographic and a range of tongue-dyeing lollipops. The future of Hugo Lollygager’s gift to the world is bright indeed.