When I was teaching English in Spain, a common request from students was a class about all those crazy abbreviations people use on the Internet, so I developed a few different lesson plans about common IM/meme phrases. These classes were invariably one of the instances where people would always ask me if I was serious or if I was lying since they couldn’t believe that some things are said so often that they need to be abbreviated (e.g. imho, TPTB, brb, nsfw, etc.). [Ha! Two unintended abbreviations in there!]
Anyway, when I was living in Lyon, the papers around the checkout lane were always running headline stories about the local football (soccer) club, the Olympique Lyonnais. Whenever the team would win, one of the many periodicals would run a headline like
LOL ! LOL ! LOL !
and I would giggle like an idiot every damn time I saw it. Of course, to the French and the Lyon supporters of the team, their chant of “L-O-L, L-O-L” was the equivalent of a crowd shouting “U-S-A, U-S-A” during some American sporting event.
I was reminded of this disparity in LOLs when I saw this cartoon which I find even funnier than headlines reading “LOL.”