(n.) A drowning man. On some of the more literacy-conscious chatrooms, whenever anyone (usually a n00b) says lol, they are invariably greeted with cries of "Oh no! He's drowning!" or something of the like. The lol is a drowning man, his head (the 'o') and upraised arms (the two 'l's) visible above the water line. There have been numerous attempted positive spins on this meme, like the Headshot of Someone at a Party Theory, or the He's Not Drowning- He's Just Cheering Theory, etc., but none of them have really taken hold like the Drowning Man Theory. There are also numerous text variations, supporting various theories. Ex: *lol* is a variation on the Cheering Theory, where the cheerer has somehow obtained a pair of pom-poms, and ~~~lol~~~^~~~ is a yet more ominous version of Drowning Man, for, as you can see, there is clearly a shark slicing through the stormy waves towards the hapless lol. Prevent this slaughter of innocent swimmers. Don't lol.
In a chatroom:
n00b: haha lol
Regular: Oh noes! A drowning man!
In real life (ish):
Bob: Well, this is a pleasant day to walk along the beach *sees man drowning* Oh no! A lol!