Apr 252011
 


It has been about 25 years since I’ve had full use of my middle finger. What is wrong with it? Well, despite having had a bit of minor surgery on it, there is actually nothing physically wrong with it. The impediment is all in my head. What is the nature of this impediment? Why did it start so many years ago? Let me tell you a story.

It was 5th grade, and we were tasked with making a napkin holder in shop class. Mine, to the delight of the boys in my class, ended up looking like this.

They laughed and explained what was so amusing, eventually. I stood by my design, painted some yellow and red stripes on it, though it never ended up on a display shelf. Despite my feigned indifference, this event had made an impression on me. I realized that the world was booby trapped — get it, ha-ha, boob-y trapped. It was possible to utter or do something and inadvertently “say” something of a sexual connotation.

The middle finger, for example, it had to be used with caution. Stick it out on its own, and you could be giving someone the bird without ever knowing it. A frequent worry, which may be unique to me, is the isolation of the middle finger in the two-stage pick up maneuver. This is where you have already picked up a book or stack of papers and are carrying it in your hand. Then you realize that there is something else, an envelope or such, that you would like to pick up as well. Assuming your other hand is unavailable to help out, you can either set everything down, stack it, and pick it up again, or, you can keep the first item in your hand, and pick up the second with your middle finger (the index and ring finger having to stay on item #1 to keep it securely in place). The result is:

Do you see what I mean?

Recently I’ve been using my middle finger more. I use it on touch screens. There I was at an airline check-in booth, and I could stand 5mm further back if I used my middle finger instead of my index finger. Instead of expending extra effort curling it under, tucking it out of the away because of its extra length, I could acknowledge that its length actually made it superior for the task.

So if you see my middle finger a bit more often, don’t worry, most likely it doesn’t mean anything.

Apr 092011
 

Besides a series of thought provoking talks at #norditanwk also heard a Swede challenge a Finn to say in Swedish: “Ö, ö, hö ö; hö ö mö”

 

That extra “p” in “upp” is almost like a little happy exclamation mark. Same with “Öppen”. Why can’t English have them too?

Apr 072011
 

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