Sunday, October 26, 2008


I decided long ago to embrace Awkwardness. Whether I bring it upon myself, or whether I simply seek it out more because I find it delightful, I do not know. I know only this: I relish a good bit of discomfort.

And I, with the aid of several likeminded friends, have come to see the value in deploying one particular gesture to communicate that sense of awkwardness and delightful discomfort we find around us so readily. Friends, I give you... LÖL!

This extremely useful gesture can easily be performed by inserting the index finger in the high shirt collar (real or imagined, if the cut of the shirt is too low). The finger then extends the (real or imagined) shirt collar away from the neck while the face grimaces.

For written situations that require a transliterated version of the gesture and sound, there are several acceptable spellings: the aforementioned 'löl', as well as 'glllulllg'. Please note here that I am a hater of 'LOL'. I cringe just looking at those three horrid letters I have just typed with my own fingers. Felice explains the lameness of the acronym very well here. But 'löl' provides a clever way to reappropriate the laziness of 'LOL' and turn it into something spectacularly germanic and witty, and loads more evocative and useful than whatever visual you get for 'laughing out loud'. 'glllulllg' is likewise delightful in its palindromatic construction, and it can be extended to visually represent discomfort by degrees (ie, 'gllllllllllllulllllllllllg!').

Opportunities for use are abundant, you will find. You might as well leave your finger in your collar for the entire duration of any given episode of 'The Office', for instance. This week, these were a few of the moments when I found myself glllllullllg-ing:

Scary professionally printed grammar errors in businesses around USC. This is a big one for me, as I am a bit of a grammar and punctuation snob, especially when it comes to signage. I give a couple points for the team spirit and humor appeal, however:

Also not a fan of misused quotation marks, again on signage. Please note, dear business, that we are in fact real students. There's "nothing" approximate or imaginary about it. glllulllg!
And, I recently caught a few gigantically uncomfortable moments in past presidential debates (catch the spirit!). No amount of squirming or löl-ing makes these any more pleasant to watch!

Dan Quayle and Lloyd Bentsen. Gllullg!

Bush v. Clinton 1992. Oh wow.

Now, go! See how soon you too will have a use for this handy gesture. I can say, as a testimony to its viability, that my father's first public gesture (and possible first movement of the right elbow) following his open heart surgery was in fact a 'glllulllg'. It strained his neck and hurt his arm, but there simply wasn't any better or more amusing way to accurately convey his feelings at that time. You'll see.

Monday, October 6, 2008

the beat goes on

A week has now passed since PapaTron's CABG (that's a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft to all the uninitiated), and his heart is happy to finally be at home. He left the hospital Friday evening, delighted to bid farewell to Darvocet-induced hallucinations, catheters, and worn out snappy gowns. He's now crashing on the couch downstairs and may be welcoming visitors (or at least willing dog-walkers) soon.

pre-surgery fun:
Dad was quite the anomaly in the cardiac ward; everyone was surprised to see such a fit and healthy 50 year old young buck in there for surgery. friends, one word: checkups! especially if you have a history of any kind of any disease in your family.
Post CABG, feeling no pain...
We may have snuck my guitar in and serenaded the patient as he puffed on his respiration treatment.
We hijacked him for walks around the fourth floor as well. Yes, this man DOES walk. He'll be back to cycling and canyon rescuing and palm-tree-cutting-down in no time at all.
That's the smile of health!