Tuesday, June 6, 2017

"Hook-em' Horns" ...back by popular demand.

The Funniest True Story You'll Ever Read
Originally posted on FaceBook
Regarding the ‘hook-em’ horns gesture displayed by the fans at the University of Texas football game...s.
I suppose I could get right to the story but I like to present a little background information to make it more interesting. As you know, gestures are made by various people as an expression that has meaning in and of itself without saying a word, whereas the verbal equivalent may be too vulgar for some to utter aloud. Although all gestures are not necessarily negative such as the ‘OK’ sign represented by forming a circle with the index finger and thumb…or the ‘thumbs-up’ gesture which means all is good. But let’s get on to my story.
Some years ago while stationed on the island of Okinawa one soon learned that driving in another country was not the same as we experienced in the good ole U. S. of A. The island was overcrowded with cars so traffic was a big headache especially during commute hours. Local taxi drivers didn’t make pleasant gestures at you as they constantly cut in an out of traffic making a nuisance of themselves…more like irritating the hell out of other drivers obeying the driving rules.
Well after a year or so I finally asked our Okinawan secretary what we could do to irritate the taxi drivers. “Simple.”, she said, “Okinawans do not like being called ‘stupid dogs’.” So with the Japanese translation of ‘baka enu’ I was prepared for my next encounter. Sure enough on the way home that very day, I was cut off on three occasions by the same taxi driver. Wanting to let him know my displeasure I hollered out the window, “Baka enu!”… probably not enough room here to explain just how that affected the driver, but for brevity sake, he went bonkers!
Now fast forward ten years later… Here I find myself on another island only this one is in the Mediterranean. The island of Sicily is mountainous with scattered small towns with narrow streets. I lived up at the base of Mount Etna in a town called Belpasso. The main street heading down (or up) was narrow and in some places the buildings occupied the corner (no sidewalks) making it difficult to see on-coming cross traffic. Up and down traffic has the right of way…if you’re obeying the rules. Well some Sicilian drivers are worse than Okinawan taxi drivers. (Another story I won’t get into here…Sicilian drivers have been known to have a family re-union in the middle of the street!).
Like my Okinawan experience, I inquired what one could do to irritate the local insane drivers. I was quickly informed that I should just throw them the ‘hook-em’ horns gesture. Now the meaning in Sicilian (Italian) may not be as enthusiastic as a University of Texas football fan but I decided to go with it none the less.
Lo and behold, shortly thereafter I was headed home up the hill to my residence in Belpasso when a car suddenly came veering out of nowhere, around one of those blind corners, and if the car had another coat of paint, it would have careened into me. Now’s my chance! I said, and I threw the driver of the reckless car a healthy ‘hook-em’ horns as the driver sped away from me. Apparently seeing my gesture in his rearview mirror, he slammed on his breaks, spun around and proceeded to chase me down. Not wanting to let him have the privilege of the chase, I stopped and waited for him. Pulling up behind me, he jumped out of his car and came running toward me yelling something I’ve never heard any Italian ever scream, shout or mumble…they must be the curse words we are taught as a child to cover your ears when you hear them; no doubt, the guy was angry! Well I got out of my vehicle and as I did, the guy backed off, but continued with his barrage of verbal expletives (Apparently when he saw that I was almost twice his size, the opportunity for him to thrash the living daylights out of me subsided.).
The next day I had to inquire from the source of my newly found gesture; I asked him, “What the hell does that mean to a Sicilian?” He replied, “It’s telling him that you just made love to his mother and girlfriend and he doesn’t have the guts to do anything about it.