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The Finger

“I'm travelling down a stretch of road during rush-hour and a fellow motorist decides to make a two-lane change, without the use of his signal, and he gives me the finger!”

Sound familiar? It shouldn't, I was driving alone. However, I'm not stressing road-rage here, although that too would make for a fine article, I'm talking about the publicly accepted and acknowledged fact of what 'the finger' means. The reason the above sentence stands on its own as a full story is because everyone knows what the middle-finger symbol means. It means, “I'm displeased with your behaviour and/or conduct”, “I believe you have offended me and this gesture can fully express my emotional range of feelings”, “Go fu¢k yourself”* or simply, “Fu¢k off”.

The finger is the universally accepted gesture for expressing displeasure.

If we had more symbols like the finger in our world we would have far less miscommunication between cultures, allowing us to finally form the 'global village' that the Internet promised to deliver. As things have turned out, the Internet has provided pop-up ads and porn and the Internet's global village has become a global shopping mall, leaving us to find another avenue for eventual peace among all of mankind. I believe the 'bird' is one such avenue well-worth pursuing.

We could use our other four fingers to express different emotions. We have five fingers total. The middle finger's message, as we already know, is already set. Its rather unfortunate that the first universal symbol happens to mean 'fu¢k off', but such is the nature of man. That leaves us with four fingers to express ourselves and with that we can cover a big range of emotions.

Our Fingers - the key to world-wide communication?

Perhaps our fingers could each represent two emotions. Take the thumb for example. The thumb means “ok.”, “that's great” or “I full-heartedly agree”, and it also means “please give me a ride so that we may spend uncomfortable time together hoping each other isn't a sex-crazed pervert or a sociopath with murderous tendensies”. By using each finger to express two emotions, separating the meaning of each symbol by context, we have the possiblity of digitally expressing seven more emotions. Each finger representing both a positive and negative emotion would allow us to put the gesture into context quicker and easier. For example:

Digit Positive Message Negative Message
Index “You're number one!” “Fu¢k off.”
Middle “You bring joy into my life.” “Fu¢k off.”
Ring “I like you.” “Fu¢k off.”
Baby “I'm happy.” “Fu¢k off.”
Thumb “ok!” “Please don't pick me up hitchhiking, rape me in an interstate rest area and leave me beaten senseless in a bathroom stall.”

Perhaps I should pose this list to the U.N. I'm sure it would speed up many of their processes. Global communication could be more than just a dream if we all work together.

*In the interest of our youth and an attempt to keep this information PG-rated, all "fuck"s have been cleverly replaced with "fu¢k"s as to not teach impressionable minds bad words.

The History of the Finger

I'm quite sure this is pure tripe but its the best I could Google.

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore be incapable of fighting in the future.

Woodcut of torture recipientThis famous weapon was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as “plucking the yew” (or “pluck yew”).

Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated and saying, “See, we can still pluck yew!”

Over the years some 'folk etymologies' have grown up around this portrayed symbolic gesture and verbal utterance.

“PLUCK YEW” ... derivation and evolution. Those of you who you had to gather the feathers used on the arrows for the longbow, were often referred to as a “pleasant mother pheasant plucker”. This jargon and as well the terminology, PLUCK YEW contain a difficult "consonant cluster" which was found to be rather awkward to pronounce. Both terms, and in particular 'Pluck yew' have gradually evolved to contain a biodental fricative 'F,' and thus the words often used now in conjunction with the one-finger-salute are mistakenly thought to have something to do with an intimate encounter. It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows that the symbolic gesture is known as 'giving the bird.'

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