Worldly Internet Lingo Deconstruction: FML
No matter how fantastic life can be, we all fall face-first into a horrendous day once in a while. Your measure of a horrid 24 hours likely varies from other people’s, but you can instantly tell that events are going to unfold poorly or when one particular moment can trash a mellow or joyous feeling held previously.
Personal reactions to these days vary; some prefer self-loathing, others try to shake it off, and there are those who want to string together curse words like popcorn for the Christmas tree.
Thanks to the internet’s ability to allow us to easily share disdain and sorrow, those reactions often stem from skewed perspectives. A broken nail would elicit displeasure, but it was never a massive detriment. Now, every stubbed toe or dropped piece of lettuce is an uninhibited detriment to the fabric of your personal reality.
This week’s WILD leads us to:
Definition: Fuck My Life
That just cuts to the core, doesn’t it?
FML is a widely-used acronym that, like LOL and JK, has made its way into our spoken vernacular. Unlike LOL and JK, FML actually has a worthwhile usage when typed or spoken. A high school student dropping a lunch tray could mutter this phrase instead of its full utterance and not receive an ear yank by the nearest aide. An unhip parent or guardian perusing through their child’s text messages could question said kiddo about the acronym. As long as the perpetrator claims that FML means “Friendship Means Loves,” then everything’s square.
FML is an inherently selfish saying. No matter how someone else is affected by a situation, users of FML are essentially sending out RSVPs for their pity parties. There are times when it’s hard to see beyond yourself. Unfortunately, the internet is over-saturated with miserly FMLs.
I’m under the belief that swearing is best used sparingly. Dropping expletive bombs between every non-vicious word lessens the impact. The TV Tropes page “Precision F-Strike” sums up my feelings:
Let’s face it: people swear. However, some movies have a tendency to overdo it. Sometimes it can be pulled off, and sometimes it just sounds stupid. The Precision F Strike is the opposite of this. Put simply, it’s where swearing has been used effectively to add weight to the sentence.
There’s even a (questionably factual) site that seems to use the phrase with precise power. Users are encouraged to vote if the poster deserved the happenstance or if sympathy is necessary. An example:
A truly horrendous occurrence, correct? Whether or not it’s real, the event is clearly worth the use of FML. A sudden breakup after 4 years from unexplained circumstances warrants a hearty expletive.
That’s not the case amongst the majority of usage, though. Any search for “FML” on Twitter will bring up an ever-growing list of petulant teens and adults without proper perception.
Look at the full phrase again: Fuck My Life. The succinct impact of these words manifests in the idea that something so awful can alter your entire memory and life. A single event can erase all previously experienced joy due to the overwhelming feeling of anguish and anger. Modern-day Charles Dickens would state, “It was the LMFAO of times, it was the FML of times.”
But in a world where the words “love” and “hate” are wielded like a fork and knife, FML’s impact is minimized. From Twitter:
My girlfriend is telling me her rankings of the kardashian sisters right now. #fml
— Andrew Robl (@Andrew_Robl) March 20, 2013
As unfortunate as this event is for the boyfriend, an equal response, instead of despair, would be a list of top NBA MVP candidates. Stereotypical, yes, but battle the Kardashian talk with whatever you can.
I’m so pale ok like FML
— BrownHairDontCare (@brownhrdontcare) March 20, 2013
Apparently, BrownHairDOESCare. Those who aren’t pale in the winter seem unnatural to me. Flaunt the moon tan! Don’t let it get you down, champ.
Never putting my snapchat name on Twitter again. Already got 2 random Dick pics…..fml
— ฿laine ッ (@BlaineIsGross) March 20, 2013
When the majority of Snapchat articles have “sexting” in the title, you should know what you signed up for. If seeing a penis is really worth spiraling into a sea of sadness, then all males deserve a dose of Prozac after every trip to the urinal.
FML isn’t the first acronym of its kind. IHML, or “I Hate My Life” for those who don’t understand superficial sadness, was FML for the early-2000′s. When emo music ruled the high school hair-in-front-of-just-one-eye scene, IHML was the mantra. Again, this sounds like a generalization, but it was abundant with teens as acne and awkwardness. FML won’t be the last iteration of unworthily upset people.
So, when is FML worth using? To be honest, unless you’re posting at the aforementioned fmylife.com, I would say never. ”Fuck My Life” garners such a sense of total self-destruction that shortening it to “FML” and using it on the internet seems to trivialize what happened.
Think on that the next time you hear or read someone sincerely call something the worst, state their unfounded hatred, or use FML after stubbing a toe. Unless said stubbing liquefied your metatarsals to the point of no reconstruction, jeopardizing your current and lucrative career as a kicker in professional football, rethink what you’re saying.