Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Highway Salute

I now bring you to the beautiful streets of Aurora Colorado, where high class meets high spirits. On my way home from work this evening, I happened upon a nice gentleman in a quaint Dodge truck. Well, actually, he happened upon me by almost crushing my Honda Accord to smithereens when he shot into my lane from another dimension.

Needless to say, I gently applied pressure to my “horn” thingy on my steering contraption, to notify the gentlemen of my presence in this universe. Upon hearing my audible notice, the gentlemen proceeded to signal me in the language of hand gestures. It looked something like this:


From Wikipedia.


The act of extending the middle finger, or digitus impudicus, as it was known in ancient Rome, is several thousand years old. Synonyms include “the finger”, “the bird”, “the highway salute”, “flipping the bird”, and “flipping someone off”. Previously used to ward off the evil eye, the connotation has changed, somewhat, in recent years.

It usually means “F—k you, a—hole!”

However, as a world traveler and accomplished translator, I beg to differ on the implied meaning:

In Inuit circles, flipping the bird means: “I saw a seal emerging from the ice. Let’s go get it.”

In rural Madagascar, the finger can be interpreted as: “The tree over there has many lemurs. Let’s eat!”

In downtown Sydney Australia, flipping someone off means: “Good day, mate! What are you UP to?”

And often overlooked, is the middle finger’s use in Detroit, Michigan: “You’re ok, buddy. Let’s meet UP sometime,” (usually accompanied by an upward motion).

So I’m not exactly sure what the gentleman in a Dodge was trying to imply this evening, but it may have been something other than “F—k you, a—hole!” I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The next time you’re in Sydney, Madagascar, or Detroit, give the old finger a try.

You’re sure to get an interesting response.


Does anyone else have experience with, or alternate translations for the bird?

Can you help me translate?

7 comments:

Burfica said...

not for the bird persay, but I still giggle at when old pres bush flipped off all of france.

He was trying to do the peace sign, but did it by waving his hand backwards, (meaning he showed the back of his hand) this is the same as F u A hole to france. hehehee Which I think we all should do to France anyway.

Upon asking my very british friend why the two fingers in a V meant that. She said, because long ago, when french caught english they would cut off their bow fingers as punishment. So...they now wave them at you (back of the hand toward the french) to say seeeeeee ass hole I still have them so F u. hehehehe I like that one.

Michele said...

Hmmm... let's see, for all those that feel that it's not such a big deal to "flip that bird", the next time you are driving down that highway and you get passed by a pack of Hell's Angels, just go right ahead and flip that bird at them and see how innocent it is. :)

Dumb Ox said...

I seem to recall that in Australia they signal the bird with two fingers, index and middle ones to be precise. Which reminds me of an interesting story. Once when George Bush (I) and his wife Barbara were visiting Down Under, during their motorcade welcome for some reason they decided to flash the crowds some Churchillian "V for Victory" signs. Well when they turned their wrist back and forth to "salute" both sides of the street... your guessed it, half of the people was offended all of the time.

Translator said...

Heh heh! I remember hearing about that, Dumb Ox. Funny stuff Down Under! Thanks for visiting!

Teddy in Japan said...

BTW
Nice picture!
It's pretty cute actually.

Actually the two finger salute in Australia is called the forks, and the offense actually originated in France and the war they fought with England. Something about after they captured an archer, they would cut off one finger then send him home. By giving the "forks" to the English meant "haha he's missing a finger and can no longer fire and arrow". And Australia being an English colony, inherited this European gesture.

DeKnight said...

Nice Post dude... Keep going.. Xchanges are welcome

marc said...

Haha. Never heard of the highway salute XD I used to give people The Finger all the time in high school, they would always get on my nerves.
Good times in time-out. :D