The failures of “fail”

We’ve all seen it happen before. You dropped some books or spilt your coffee only to have your irritation and slight embarrassment punctuated by some giddy opportunist chiming in with a cringe worthy four-letter f-word: “Fail!”

Aside from being grammatically incorrect, the real problem is the term’s origin. What was once solely a verb has morphed into a noun, adjective, and exclamation. In case you didn’t know, we’ve got the Internet to blame, with its incalculable plethora of photos of misspelled tattoos, flipped over cars, and other forms of mistakes brandished with the word “fail” in block letters. This type of humour became so popular that entire websites are devoted to it.

However, bad humour is fair game on the Internet. Simple, one-track humour sites flare up all the time. You probably used to skim sites like Texts From Last Night, Fuck My Life, and Look At This Fucking Hipster when you first heard about them, but have forgotten about them over time. And that’s the way it should be. The Internet is in a permanent state of change, and in the humour realm, novelty is key. So why “fail” has not only lingered, but has managed to make its way into the real world is beyond me.

What I do know is the impression it gives when you use it. People think that it’s clever, as if it shows off their knowledge of what’s trendy online. But the fact is, it’s so trite that it’s like being that kid in seventh grade that said LOL out loud because they just started using it on ICQ.

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