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Monday, April 12, 2010

Da Finga

I'm far too civilized.

I wouldn't say "classy," or "mature," because I do acknowledge and appreciate the humor inherent in the fact that the word "fart" is almost in the phrase "far too" but for that tiny little space. Just call me the thin Peter Griffin...

But I'm definitely too civilized.

I was looking at someone's Facebook album that contained old pictures from my days in college. Eight-year-old photographs. That had to be digitally scanned in order for them to be uploaded onto Facebook. That's how old I am. Fucking scannable.

Anyway, in one of the pictures, a group of schmucks I know, maybe thirty or forty of them, were all assembled in front of the camera and all of them were giving the camera (and, presumably, the camera operator) the finger.

With both hands. That's nearly eighty middle fingers, if my math is correct. And it probably isn't. Why should today be any different?

And, as I looked at this picture, I thought to myself, "I've never given anybody the finger."

That's a disappointing thing to realize.

Sure, I've given it to people in jest, and I've given it in photographs, too, but never out of anger. Never in the heat of the moment. Never behind the wheel of my car. Well, I do, but it's always hidden under the dashboard. Never extended through an open window or a sunroof. I've never had such a heated argument with another person where I've found it necessary to resort to one finger, thrust upwards, to underline or underscore a point I was making. I don't even think I've ever told another person to go fuck him/herself out of real anger.

And don't say, "Well, maybe you just don't get angry," because, trust me, I do.

When I get angry, though, I'm more likely to well up with tears. And I don't know if that makes me sensitive or if it makes me a pussy or if it makes me a prime candidate for therapy, but it's the truth.

If I yelled at someone, out of real, true, hot anger, my voice would start to quaver and break. My hands would start to tremble, and it's very difficult to muster up the fortitude necessary to shout, "FUCK YOU, YOU GODDAMNED ASSHOLE!" when you're about to start to cry. I doubt giving the finger has much impact when your hand is shaking worse than Katie Hepburn's head.

Not only that, but my middle finger looks, well, funny.

It's too long. And too skinny. Too bony. It looks ridiculous when it's fully extended. If I really gave someone the finger, they'd probably fall on the floor laughing. My middle finger looks like John Cleese's leg. And John Cleese's legs are funny. They're much funnier, I suspect, than Henry Kissinger's or Danny Aiello's.

In the movie "Fletch," Chevy Chase gives the finger to his newspaper editor in an unusual way, I noticed when I first saw the film at age 11. The knuckles of his index and ring finger protrude out past his extended middle digit. I tried this in the mirror of my bedroom and found that sticking out knuckles 1 & 3 somewhat ameliorated the effects of my absurdly long and skinny middle finger. I resolved that, were I ever to give someone the finger in a pressure-cooker situation, that I would give it like that, so that they wouldn't laugh at me.

But I haven't had to do that to anybody yet. Or, at least, I haven't done it to anybody yet.

I don't get into fights very often. I'm very non-confrontational. I suspect that this arises from my fear of getting shot in the face, or even punched in the face. For someone as dubious-looking as I am, I'm very protective of my face. I don't want any of its components enlarged or rearranged. I have enough holes in my face-- I don't want another one. People shoot each other all the time and I have no reason to suspect that someone wouldn't shoot me in the face for giving them the middle finger.

Back in high school, during our production of "Pygmalion," the kid who played Colonel Pickering said that he's always wanted to go out for his curtain call and give the audience the finger. Obviously, he wouldn't do that, he told me, so, instead, he comes out with his hands in his pockets, bows, and gives the audience the finger through his trouser pockets. The double deuce.

"Huh," I said, backstage, "that's an interesting idea."

And, one night, I tried it. There they were, hundreds of audience members, clapping like mad after our probably seven-hour bollocksing of George Bernard Shaw's theatrical masterpiece. I stepped out and took center stage, after having thoroughly exhausted the cockney out of myself playing Alfred Doolittle, drunken chimney sweep extraordinaire. I stopped and listened briefly to their applause, my hands in my pockets. And I bowed.

Too fucking civilized.


  1. i know this is going to come as a huge shock, since i'm such a delicate lady and all, but i give the finger approximately twice a week in traffic...

  2. I don't give the finger. To me it seems kind of stupid. Like, "ooh..the finger". So anticlimatic. But I will likely yell, honk (when in a car), or a combination of both. If it's my hubs and he makes me angry I will likely do something out of revenge. Like refuse to clean his underwear or socks. Oops. ;)

  3. Mr. Apron (PS, your comment on my last blog post almost made me pee), I am a big proponent of telling people off. If that's the finger, if that's the Greek hand gesture, if that's swearing, if that's mild threats, it's such a liberating feeling. I too know this quiver in the voice, but you gotta move past it. And then you get to the freedom of release.

    I'm still talking about telling people off, by the way.

  4. how sweet, mr. apron.
    old age and bloggy accolades are softening you.

    the only people i don't give the finger to are the elderly. and maybe children. no, sometimes children.

  5. Unfortunately, I'm a fellow angry crier. When I get so angry I can barely talk, tears of pure anger and frustration fill up my eyes and render my rage completely impotent.

    That, in turn, makes me angrier, which makes me cry more, and it's a vicious circle. I hate it. I've never been able to prevent this miserable occurence.

    Only once have I ever seriously told anybody to fuck off, and I apologised almost immediately afterwards and still feel slightly guilty about it to this day.

    I'll have to try give someone the finger sometime. I have done it before, of course, but only through three walls of stone in a room on the far side of the house from the recipient of my bad vibes...

  6. I don't think I have either.... I rarely get angry enough that I need some physical expression of it, but when I do I'm more likely to throw something

    Damn my life is boring :(

  7. Haha- you're so old you're scannable. Love it.


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