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Friday, May 19, 2017

"Learning To Shoot The Bird!"

One of 975 frames I did for a film...
This is a sketch I drew from my head and one that comes from deep inside my artist's psyche. The frustrations of life can bring us all down to our more base emotions, but it feels so good sometimes to do so.

In the script, this couple is being harassed by those all too familiar, damn country antagonists, the "rednecks." The husband is kind of milk toast in a script written by a woman. In the story, the wife takes action that her husband won't to avoid a conflict. ( Have you ever dated a babe like that? ) Okay, okay, this script was just all too predicable to be worthwhile, and I was starting to feel the same frustrations that make people want to employ such a response.

Like the director!

But, this story isn't about the sketch, the film, or the feelings of frustration. It is about the struggle to actually learn how to form the illicit visual comment. I didn't want to attract too much attention to myself for not knowing what the gesture meant. In fact, it was quite some time after learning how to make it and for what reason to use it, before I understood exactly what it represented.

I learned that whenever this super cool, little Italian kid, Larry Serio, disliked a situation, or a joke, or something the nuns said to him, he would whip out, usually from his pockets, for it was that age when all young males have their hands in their pockets, and with a violent look of disgust, shoot the bird. Larry was one of those "Fonzie" types before there was a Fonzie. A diminutive guy, he always had a comb in his back pocket and was not afraid to use it. His hair was jet black like the dress shoes we all had to wear as a part of our approved uniform. But, he was cool because he had taps on his shoes. You could hear him coming from a long way down the hallway and the nuns always gave him a hard time about it.

That was even cooler!

Who knows where Larry learned to form that unique finger dance and how to use it so quickly. He probably learned it from a older brother... or sister! He had to have spent many an hour in front of a mirror to get the entire act down pat. I know it took me quite some time to learn how to do it though I never felt it was necessary to use it all that much. I remember having to push my ring and pinky finger down into position using my other hand. It took a lot of practice!

The one time I actually was angry enough to use it, I spent at least the next ten or twelve seconds actually forming the wingless bird in my pocket before making its entrance. By then, my concern for getting it right had overridden my anger. It was almost like counting to the number ten to help one calm themselves down.

Over time, I realized that it was a timing thing to get the finger and the attitude displayed all at once. You had to really feel it. It couldn't be faked. It had to come from deep within. It took quite some time to put the two together and not be embarrassed by the response. It only took a few years in the advertising business to set that winged animal free... in but a few seconds.

The truth be told, when I finally found out the real meaning of the gesture, I was kinda disappointed. Somehow, some way, waiting all those years to find out what that mystery finger dance was all about, couldn't possibly live up to all I had imagined.

Isn't that a lot like life...

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III