Please Look Carefully at Finger Placement!


While cruising on foot in Sarajevo, I met Stan Laurel. I assumed he was long deceased, but apparently he sought asylum in Bosnia in his dotage. We chatted briefly, and I complemented his “thumbs up” with a new gesture I learned in Albania. Look carefully. You’ll note that it is not obscene. It’s identical to the “Hook ’em Horns” gesture at Texas A&M in America, but it actually means something else altogether in Tirana. It’s a watered down version of giving someone the finger. In the Balkans, if someone says or does something mildly offensive, you give this sign accompanied by a rueful grin to register “gentle objection.” I have not tried it in the U.S. based on my assumption that it would be misunderstood and might cause me bodily harm. At my age, why take chances?


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