Monday, June 16, 2014

CLASSIC ZIPPITY: A Burning in the Finger Bones

“Take American Sign Language,” my oldest daughter was happy to suggest. Easy for her to say, her fingers didn’t look like curly cheese puffs.

“I can’t. I fear my window of opportunity on that form of communication has passed.”

I held up my curly cheese puff shaped fingers as evidence.

“My fingers are all used up because of arthritis! See! My knuckles are on fire, my fingers look like they’re tired of being part of my hand, and I’m afraid I’ll get counted down for a poorly formed alphabet.”

“How about Spanish?” She suggested as a default language to satisfy my college foreign language requirements.

“I tried that, and apparently you have to be able to speak Spanish to study Spanish.”

On the first day of attempting to “take” college Spanish, the teacher looked right into my Irish freckles and at my knobby arthritic knuckles and busted into Spanish. I couldn’t even find the page in the book she was referencing, because I DON’T SPEAK SPANISH.

It was distressing to the point of making my knucklebones ache, and I dropped the class as fast as my throbbing fingers could punch the computer keys.

The entire dilemma made me so mad, I wanted to make an obscene gesture by extending my index finger at the computer screen and, in the colloquial, “shoot a bird.” However, I did not “shoot a bird” for the following reasons:

A) I am a lady. Not only am I a lady, I am a southern lady and a southern lady does not make obscene gestures with her hands, feet, or other physical extremities. A southern lady expresses her anger through polite sarcasm and by writing lengthy novels about fictional towns where all the inhabitants are bat stone crazy.

B) My hand looks less than attractive when I extend my index finger in the classic symbol of sexual disdain and/or invitation. I know, because I’ve practiced the middle finger gesture in the mirror, and it’s just not flattering to my hand, probably because of my enlarged knuckles due to arthritis.

C) I have never felt comfortable with the actual meaning of the gesture in question. What does it mean? Is it an order, threat, or an invitation? And if it’s an invitation, how comfortable do I feel extending that invitation to someone I am frothing at the mouth mad at?

I have never in my life made such an unladylike, ugly, ambiguous gesture—not in my entire complete life—and, I’m not prepared to start now. 
Which still leaves me with a quandary; what language of foreign clime should I choose to study to satisfy my college requirement so that I can become a well-rounded human being? 

I’m thinking Italian. I understand it’s a language and culture that requires the enthusiastic and repeated use of one’s hands.

Linda (Look into my Eye) Zern 

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