My workplace is…lenient, shall we say, in regard to language and conduct. Not to say we’re not professional–neigh, we do our jobs and do them well. Dare I say we’re a group of ass kickers who not only perform but thrive under pressure. Perhaps as a bit of a way to blow off steam, our superiors recognized the value in letting us express ourselves largely uncensored. There’s a time and place for filtering what you say and how you say it, but aside from those special occasions, all bets are largely off.
As part of this new freedom of expression that accompanies my job, a few months ago I rediscovered the granddaddy, the reigning champion of hand gestures: the middle finger. The bird. The wonderful, wordless way to tell someone what you really think of them. But unlike a verbal insult, flipping someone off can be more than an offensive suggestion you give to idiot motorists. You can use it to rib your friends in ways that work as well as insulting their mother, and in a much more subtle way (if that’s what you’re going for).
And therein lies the beauty of flipping someone off. Is is childish? Yes. Is it crude? Absolutely. But the variety of ways that crude, childish message can be delivered is staggering. Don’t believe me? Somebody actually wrote a book about it.
Luckily, the people I choose to flip off have a similarly warped sense of humor and take no offense when I call their name under the guise of needing to ask them a question and have a bird perched and ready for them when they turn around. Occasionally I’ll see a co-worker walking my direction and prepare for a quick-draw bird for them so when their eyes glance in the general direction they’ll see it. And sometimes, if the coast is clear, there’s the long distance, office-long bird, flying from one wall to the other before reaching its intended recipient.
Some of my friends are now starting to send the bird flying right back in kind, or, ever more frequently, beating me to the punch. It fills my heart with joy to see an otherwise innocent-looking person hard at work at their desk while simultaneously telling me (wordlessly) to go fuck myself with the slightest of grins from the corner of their mouths.
See, we all understand, in our own brand of lunacy, it’s actually a show of affection—a salute, of sorts, for the truly twisted.
Tomorrow’s Friday, what better day to start a bird watching club of your own? Give it a shot–call out to a friend and let them know how much you care.
As for my own friends/co-workers, they already know exactly where I stand: