If I didn’t dislike him so much I might actually laugh at this. I mean, it was April Fool’s Day. So on Friday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy decided to get into the spirit of things.
You know how we have an official state everything? (Except a state song.) We have an official state dinosaur, for crying out loud. Well, the official state bird of New Jersey is the American goldfinch.
Not anymore if an executive order issued Friday were to be believed. Murphy’s latest executive order was not about masking or social distancing. It was designating the middle finger as the new official state bird of the Garden State.
That’s right. “Whereas New Jersey drivers are famous for their skills, enthusiasm, and expressive hand gestures…”
He ended the order with the words “HAPPY APRIL FOOLS!”
Do we really use the middle finger in New Jersey more than most other states? I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw anyone give it when they’ve been angry driving. Don’t we bypass the middle finger these days and jump right to a crowbar on their windshield?
Now the middle finger is profane here in the United States. But we have some common hand gestures that are considered totally vulgar in other places.
You know how you can convey to someone to “come here” by holding your hand out flat with palm up and curling your index finger? In China, Singapore and much of Asia it’s considered an extremely vulgar gesture. Apparently in the Philippines it can get you arrested.
Forming a circle with your thumb and index finger means “OK” here but in France the expression is said to indicate “worthless” or “zero.” The same gesture in Turkey, Venezuela and Brazil is highly offensive to the LGBTQ community.
Thumbs up here means good. In Iran and Iraq it means something bad.
Fingers crossed here means you are hoping for “good luck” but in Vietnam it’s a very vulgar hand gesture.
So next time a New Jersey driver gives you the middle finger, just tell yourself they’re from another country and they’re being super friendly!
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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