Nearly eight months ago, I wrote a short story entitled The “Ha” Etiquette. The story was about a guy named Daniel who contemplated the various ways in which to respond to a joke texted to him and how the number of ‘ha’s made a huge difference in the tone of the response.
At one point Daniel thought to himself, “When you send a text with just one “ha” it’s almost like an insult to the recipient. It’s like telling them that their joke was not funny and that the subject needed to be changed.”
Later he claims, “But if you place one “ha” next to another one forming a “haha” then you still need to follow up with something else in the same text. It’s like saying “that was funny, let’s keep this back and forth going.”
And he seemingly covers all his bases when he states,” But anything above two “ha”s, well, that just stands alone. It’s essentially like saying ‘that was so funny that I need to send you a special text just so you know that I’m laughing uncontrollably. I typed out all four of these “ha”s so you better believe I enjoyed that joke.’”
As I do with most things I write, I assumed millions of people read that article, but I have to say, I actually think it’s possible that billions of people read this particular one. I say that because there has been a new development in the ‘ha’ etiquette. I thought I covered it all: one ‘ha’, two ‘ha’s, and three or more ‘ha’s. Outside of LOL, ROT(F)L, and LM(F)AO (all of which are also covered in the piece), there’s nothing else left, right?
In the past eight months, something new has emerged. I call it “The Fake Typo” or “Two and a Half Ha’s.” The Fake Typo used in a text conversation would look something like this:
“What do you like better, stir fry noodles or fried rice?”
“I don’t know, I guess it’s a Thai.”
“hahah nice, I guess I’ll go with the noodles.”
You see what the recipient of the joke did there? How funny did he/she think that joke was? We’ll never know. Was it a sarcastic, eye-rolling “haha” or a laugh-out-loud “hahaha”? The joke teller can assume either way because the actual word is exactly in-between either. Even better, it can’t be mistaken for a solo “ha” so no one can think you’re being rude.
It’s the most non-committal of the ‘ha’s because it basically involves the sender pretending to have made a mistake, either accidentally adding an extra ‘h’ or accidentally leaving off an ‘a’.
But we’re all adults here. It was no mistake. It was intentionally vague. And it’s sweeping the nation. Text someone a joke right now. Their response will be the equivalent of the people who used to respond “maybe” in Facebook event groups.
It’s a scary time. A loophole has been found in the “Ha Etiquette.” I am well aware that I can do nothing to stop this epidemic so I have no choice but to take advantage and use it in my most recent text:
“Hahah, yeah paralyzed from the waist down.”