So, there’s a story I want to tell and I don’t care if you judge.
One of my kids made a gesture at the TV yesterday that told a story. We’ve navigated this lockdown like good astronauts (minus zero gravity and Tang.) But as my girls worked on a puzzle during a Hulu session of Malcolm in the Middle, an ad came on and triggered her.
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean we have to be distant socially, the sugary-voiced lady was saying to promote something I can’t even remember.
Instinctively, a middle finger arose. She didn’t even look up from the puzzle. I said nothing. I get it. Social listening data tells us that people love ads like this. They want to know corporate America is in it with us. That they’re doing their part.
We get it – you’re making hand sanitizer and collecting tips for bartenders electronically.
Sometimes, it’s just too much. We want to hear Malcolm and Reese get into mischief. We want to get this puzzle edge complete. We want to enjoy Alfredo chicken pizza and throw a football around in the yard and forget for a minute why we can’t go anywhere.
1. Does the middle finger mean the same thing in Japan?
Sometimes I learn when I research these questions the kids have asked.
In Japan, the middle finger is just a digit. There’s another rude gesture in The Land of the Rising Sun. You sandwich your thumbnail between your index and middle fingers. It’s said to resemble … well, a part of anatomy. Enough said.
If you translate the Western middle finger into Japanese sign language, you get “big brother,” so, hey, it’s kind of a greeting.
Seems the bird is a beast of contempt in the western world only. It will get giggles during that particular verse of Here comes Thumbkin, but only in the Americas and Europe, presumably. Anthropologist David Morris says even the ancients flipped the bird.
This was before they even had traffic jams to trigger it.
2. Is there a mercy rule in college football?
College football, rife for blowouts, has no numerical level at which officials will call it. If both coaches agree, they can shorten the pain by reducing time in each quarter, or keeping the clock running. And the refs must be cool with it too.
There are ways to mitigate those situations, though.
A coach who keeps his starters in after the game gets out of reach is taking a big risk. Resentment grows when you’re getting your arse handed to you. You might hit a bit harder, try to hurt your opponent for embarrassing you.
Not that it happens often, but if my soccer teams get a good lead, I set some rules.
No more than 3 goals per player – one in a big mismatch. Respect your opponent always. Don’t flaunt your success when the score gets away. Remember you’ve been on that end of it, too. And don’t take it personally if you get middle fingers in the “good game” line.
3. Do animals have to mate to have babies?
This batch of questions had a couple of doozies, didn’t it?
Some animals have all the gear they need to self-mate. It’s like immaculate conceptions everywhere, but with less biblical coverage as the famous One. Three lizards – the boa constrictor, Komodo dragon, and monitor lizard don’t need fertilization, turns out.
But it is preferred, genetically speaking.
Through parthenogenesis, these animals can impregnate themselves. But they have limited DNA material, so it’s like an inbreeding. Oviparous animals, such as amphibians, arachnids, fish, insects, and reptiles lay eggs – and the dude fertilize the eggs externally.
So if you flip off a newt, he’s really not going to know what it means. In Japan or anywhere, for that matter.
E is for End-of-your-career awards
F is for Frank, my uncle
H is for ✊🏻 haiku (my quarantine journal)
L is for learn