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Let's do the wave

Hudson Cooper - Columnist
Posted 10/1/20

Maybe it is time we did the wave. I do not mean that annoying group event at stadiums called the wave. That begins when one guy in the bleachers suddenly stands up to adjust the wedgie in his gym …

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Let's do the wave

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Maybe it is time we did the wave. I do not mean that annoying group event at stadiums called the wave. That begins when one guy in the bleachers suddenly stands up to adjust the wedgie in his gym shorts. Somebody spots him in the next section and stands up.

Building momentum, soon section by section patrons rise and holler before sitting down to see how far the “wave” goes before petering out. It is annoying to most of us and in many cases causes your $32 snack of beer, peanuts, fries and hot dogs to fall on the ground. A quick shuffle of your feet and the mess becomes the problem of the guy in front of you.

Many of you noticed the use of the word “wedgie” in the first paragraph. Have you ever wondered how that practice of yanking someone's underwear started? Well, although he did not invent the salad that bears his name, one theory says the wedgie allegedly started with Julius Caesar!

As Caesar and his legions left Rome to invade the Gauls, they had to cross the Rubicon River. Being a neat freak, he did not want to get his toga wet, so he asked an attendant to grab the hem and lift it as he waded across the river. The nervous attendant grabbed the wrong material of that garment.

When Julius slipped on a rock, part of the toga “wedged” between his buttocks. How it became known as a wedgie is clouded in mystery. But there might be a clue. Like most emperors of Rome, Caesar lived near the Palatine Hills. Nearby there is an ancient carving on a boulder depicting a Roman servant being hung from a tree by his undergarments. Barely legible is the name Atticus Wegicus. We do not know what happened to Wegicus, but those lions in the Colosseum had to eventually be fed.

The wave I suggest is a show of courtesy to fellow drivers in Sullivan County. Our county is blooming and at times the main roads are packed with cars. Sometimes a car or truck will hold up traffic as they try to navigate a left hand turn across a line of vehicles coming in the opposite direction. It gets frustrating for everyone.

So, lets show our fellow drivers some courtesy. A quick beep of the horn gets their attention as you wave them on letting them turn in front of you. Most will not immediately understand the gesture figuring it might be a trap. So, make the wave gesture again.

Not only will the recipient of your wave be happy but those cars behind you might catch on to your actions. Timewise it will affect your arrival to your destination by about ten seconds. And like the wave at stadiums, maybe you will start a movement that will develop into a courtesy gesture throughout our county.

Of course, it would be nice if your courtesy wave gesture was rewarded. If someone lets you make a turn in front of them, give them a quick wave back or even the universal sign of a thumb's up. It will complete the driving transaction and make you both appreciate the humanity.

If the wave gesture catches on you will have an easier time pulling into a shopping center parking lot. With a smile on your face, you exit your vehicle and walk towards the stores. You get about halfway there before you realize you forgot to bring your mask.

Like a soldier in boot camp, you do an abrupt about face and head back to your car mumbling about how often this happens to you. But you are not alone. Look around the parking lot and you will see many other maskless mumblers doing the round trip back to their cars.

Now wearing the mask for your protection from the virus, you head back to the stores. You encounter shoppers pushing their carts laden with items packed into those bags that we had to buy when plastic shopping bags were outlawed.

You suddenly realize that you have left your previously purchased bags in your car and start another trip back. If you are fastidious, you have them neatly folded in your trunk. But like most of us, you toss the empty bags in the back seat to give you a visual reminder to grab one or two during your next shopping trip. Obviously, that does not work.

Wouldn't it be a great service to the public if there were signs positioned around the parking lots reminding us to bring your mask and shopping bags? Perhaps they can be placed atop those fenced holding areas for empty shopping carts.

The new normal we are living in provides enough challenges to us. Gestures such as showing courtesy to our fellow drivers and mask/bag reminder signs would be small steps to help us through this changing lifestyle. And as the saying goes, Courtesy is Contagious!

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