🖕 #AtoZChallenge: M is for middle finger, mercy rules, and mating (Go Ask Daddy)

stormtrooper antique store

So, there’s a story I want to tell and I don’t care if you judge.

M2020One 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.

woman making hand sign
Photo by Nicolas Postiglioni on Pexels.com

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.

action american football athlete ball
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

photo credit: Changeable hawk-eagle/Crested hawk-eagle via photopin (license)

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.



A is for Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, Adam and Avril, and Amidala

B is for Bonnie Marie Williams, voiceover superhero, a #GirlsRock interview

C is for Conversations, Camdyn and cookies (#GratitudeAndShit) 

D is for Dorsey Standish, yoga teacher and mindfulness coach, for #GirlsRock

E is for End-of-your-career awards

F is for Frank, my uncle

G is for 💇🏽‍♂️ Go Ask Daddy about what you GET to keep on Flea Market Flip, if I’m GOING to sit in a racecar next time I get my hair cut, and how high basketball scores GO

H is for ✊🏻 haiku (my quarantine journal)

I is for being IN progress, IMMUNE system meditations and INSIGHT (for #GratitudeAndShit)

J is for Jess Cohn, an interview with a senior acquisitions editor, for #GirlsRock

K is for Kelly Calhoun, an interview with an influencer, reporter and model, for #GirlsRock

L is for learn

swift quote animals


  1. Miriam says:

    Yep, doozie questions for sure!

  2. The ancient Romans called it “digitus impudicus”, the impudent/shameless/offensive digit/finger. And yes, believe it or not, they could get traffic jams in Rome then, if it was market day with too many pedestrians fighting with the chariots and carts and horses for space, or so i’ve been told.

  3. Fun collection of letter M topics! I’m not really big on the bird, but there are a few words that escape my lips from time to time, like when I stub my toe. Mom would drop a “shit!” now and then and made no big deal about it. When my son was old enough to swear I tried to not make a big thing about it, but rather tell him there were better words to use. If someone takes offense to a swear, I remind them I used to work on ships.

    Interesting info about the creatures who can self mate. I knew there were some but didn’t know which. Fun fact: a few years ago I had a past life regression hypnosis session and saw three past lives. In one of them I was either a Komodo dragon or a monitor lizard. Blew my mind.

  4. beth says:

    sometimes, things just need to be said. or flipped.

  5. Lauren Becker says:

    Yeah, a lot of those ads about “being in it together” do drive me nuts. LOL But I’m so down with a Malcolm in the Middle marathon. I love that show!


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