How Many Fingers Am I Holding Up?

I flip people off when I shouldn’t. I flip people off in traffic, when I’ve been wronged. I flip off friends and vice versa, or when it’s the only way to get the last word in. In public, it’s dorky and potentially risky, since Dirty Harry Hyundai could shoot my face off, but I even frequently use both hands – double barrel. Whenever I flip someone off, I claim to feel justified. But I confess I don’t have to: it’s fun. I’ll flip off Lana Del Rey eventually.  

I’ve been flipping people off my entire life, and I doubt I’ll ever stop. I’ve tried the proper palm-back British “V” or “Bowfinger,” but in L.A. traffic? Meh. It’s awkward. Plus, xenophobes might not comprehend the affront. And although I admire the French, I love that the Bowfinger’s origins are said to lie in taunting them in battle. Probably to counter having farts blown in their general direction

I’m saving my last great series of one-finger salutes for when I’m in a rest home, provided I make it that far. The downside is that I’m criticized for this unapologetic bird abuse – but mostly by hypocrites to whom all of the above applies. You see, everyone likes to fly their middle fingers once in a while, and I think repressing it is as silly as holding in a turd longer than you have to.

Don’t dismiss those of us who express ourselves this way. We’re not bad people, and we don’t intend to do it at your grandmother’s funeral. In other areas of our lives, we’re perfectly well-mannered and tactful. Give us a break. Haven’t you ever raised your middle finger, but stopped yourself? Ever marveled at how that finger just wanted to rocket right up there, usually above your dashboard? It’s as if you were born to remind that arrogant cabbage-head in the BMW that his $75,000 bodyguard is no match for your little bird.

Sure you’re wealthy, you yellowing dickskin, but I don’t hide from the homeless in a fancy cocoon.

See what I mean? So would you really have us surrender one of the last subversive, reactionary, rock ‘n roll acts of petulance that we have? In trade for what, a backed up colon? I don’t think so.

Giving the finger is a very special learned behavior, ’cause it’s as close to being congenital as any social conditioning can get. Middle finger use is like crying: we’d die without the ability to cry. Who’s with me? If women’s monthly cycles were voluntary there’d be an even larger industry built up around them. We’d probably have a Secretary of Menstrual Luck and by now have endured a reality show called “The Flow Chart” or some such nonsense. Point is, you think women requested that shit? Of course not. And the middle finger is exactly the same. Except that menstruation isn’t knee-jerk. But look, it’s neuroscience, okay? Trust me. Instinctive reflex vs. learned reflex and so forth. Either way, don’t you point your boney gluten-free index finger at us in judgment!

I make no excuses for my middle fingers. I own them. I own whatever consequences my actions bring. True, returning or sending a bird isn’t exactly a “wise” use of these important digits,  but I’ve learned to take responsibility for how I choose to express my frustration. One thing’s for sure: I’m not gonna cry at you when you speed up to prevent me from merging at the sight of my turn signal.

Going into holiday parking lots and Post Offices, this is self-awareness can only be a good thing. For I am nothing without the ability to choose a higher road.

Like farting in their general direction, instead.

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