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The Rockefeller Salute

Updated on January 31, 2010


Can't We All Just Get Along?
Can't We All Just Get Along?
Lovely Day In The Neighborhood
Lovely Day In The Neighborhood
Aaaah! More Neighborhood!
Aaaah! More Neighborhood!
The Enos River
The Enos River

The Bird

I was riding my bicycle over Enos Mountain today. I pulled over off the road and took a picture of a pretty, rural scene. I then proceeded toward the intersection preparing to stop. A Volvo station-wagon appeared out of nowhere. Without any regard to me, it pulled right in front of me, pretty much ignored the stop sign, hardly slowed down, and sped away.

Naturally feeling the warmth of the sun, the moment, the kinship of my fellow man I wanted to say "hi". I wanted to say, "I love you brother".

However, when my hand went up, three fingers and a thumb went down and only one finger remained.

The driver quickly pointed out that I shouldn't be on his road and referred to me as "Ass-hole". I wasn't even aware that he knew me.

Imagine my surprise upon realizing that I had given a negative gesture to my fellow man. I didn't want to do this. I probably had a seizure of some sort.

This signal that was perpetrated by my right hand was not my intention. I wanted to have a conversation with my "brother of the Volvo". I may have wanted to give him some driving advice and wish him well on his journey today. But, there was no time. I suppose he was late to something very important and I certainly didn't want to delay him further.

How does one convey, quickly, that a motorized driver may have used poor judgment?

But, my hand was out of control. Can a person be blamed for what's done by his hand, as it was clearly a knee jerk reaction? Okay, so maybe it was more of an elbow/wrist reaction, but still, an uncontrollable gesture considering the time involved.

In 1994, Tom Hritz of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania) (Oct. 25) wrote, “The right to bear arms and fingers” . "After Kimberly flashed the one-fingered peace sign at a fellow motorist last week, she was cited for disorderly conduct, found guilty by a district justice and fined $170.…Do you really think the constitutional framers had the finger in mind when they wrote the First Amendment?"

Is this sign really this obscene? Do we not need a revision of sorts here? Lord knows I want my finger as far away from this person as possible. I certainly do not wish my finger to be used as some may interpret the gesture.

United States Vice President Nelson Rockefeller (1908-1979) made the gesture to hecklers in 1976 at a campaign stop in Binghamton, NY. Thus, “the finger,” “the bird,” “the one-finger salute”, “the one-finger peace sign”, the "flipping of someone off", the "Canadian turn signal", was re-dubbed the Rockefeller salute.

Was Nelson fined $170?

In 1968, the USS Pueblo was captured by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In photos published by the DPRK, crew members were photographed giving the finger. When their guards noticed this, the gesture was explained as a Hawaiian Good Luck Sign.

So when I was cut short at the stop sign/intersection, and the driver sped away without stopping, I could have been fined for waving the Hawaiian Good Luck Sign?

What is the hurry? Why cut in front of a cyclist, endanger the cyclist, be rude to the cyclist, run a stop sign, and violate several laws?

I live "here" so I'll talk about "here". America is in a hurry. We are too busy to plan ahead. Maybe the "Hawaiian Good Luck Sign" recipient got up late, had a late breakfast, or a "quicky" before heading out to the "salt mines" at about 11 AM.

Was his time so crimped and taken up, that he speeds through everything? Hence the "quicky"?

Was I being blamed for his impatience? Was he in haste to be at work, at play, or to have sex?

Leaving earlier and to have consideration for another person, would be too much to expect.

I put it to you- if this American can't drive safely, have concern for my welfare, and safety on the highways, how could he give a flip about health care for anybody?

I put it to you- if Obama or anyone does enough about the "un-healthy care" in America, he will be murdered. This is money we're talking about and it seems nothing is more important to a full blooded capitalist American.

Many of you will say nay.

There are conspiracies about hunting on someone's property. There are conspiracies about taking your property. There are conspiracies about the most mundane things in life.

Believe- there are conspiracies about money and lots conspiracies about lots of money.

Fellow bicycle riders recently had a gun pulled on them while riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have had at least one gun pulled on me, and twice I was told that the people to whom I was talking, had guns on them, and if I were to ride here or there, I would be killed. Twice more, I knew that the people, in my presence, had guns and had no qualms about killing me. This wasn't in Vietnam. This was in America.

I called a friend last week about having a rendezvous at a bike ride and I would buy some bike chains, tubes, and such. He asked that I call the next day as he was in route to a funeral. A friend was summoned to a home where his daughter was in the company of an abusive step-father. The "step-father" started a fight that he couldn't win. After losing the encounter, he went to his car and got his gun. So, the father is dead. He stood up for his daughter and ex-wife. He was lured into a fight that evil would win.

I ask God "why?" But it is the nature of "cowboy America", to hold all the cards, and "stack the deck". It is the nature of the world, I suppose, to have the "upper hand", and "stack the deck".

So fellow Americans, be careful of the lures that are cast to draw you into an altercation. The "decks are stacked". There are no winners. Cheaters may have that last smirk, but cheaters don't win. They cheat. They lure. They smirk.

"The finger" has been called "the universal sign of disrespect", but it is not universal.

An alternative is the reverse V sign used often in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

Another alternative is the Iberian slap which is a gesture involving raising a fist and slapping the bicep on the same arm as the fist used. This is too difficult to use while riding a bicycle.

In Greece the five fingers are spread wide and the palm is pushed towards someone in a gesture known as the Moutza.

In some African and Caribbean countries, a similarly obscene gesture is extending all five digits with the palm facing forward, meaning "you have five fathers" (thus calling someone a bastard).

Perhaps this should be the "universal sign", from cyclists, to all motorists who continue with their highway mayhem in the names of haste and hate.

They will never "get the message" anyway.


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