I worked in Huntsville, Alabama, with a great group of men and because a female engineer often times becomes ‘one of the guys’ to survive, the language and gestures become more masculine than feminine. Group dynamics being what they were, our ‘Hi’ sign became the Finger. You know, the middle finger of either hand raised proudly and distinctly toward the sky, protruding and distinguishing itself from its other finger sisters or brothers by making them bow in respect. The Finger.
Appropriate for most occasions in response to smart aleck responses to serious questions. I received more than I gave, although I didn’t really keep score.
I transferred to Oklahoma City along with one of the engineers I worked with in this Huntsville group and it wasn’t long before we had trained our new co-workers in our group to also employ the Finger.
Large aerospace firms in attempts to cut costs rarely provide the engineers or any employees with offices or cubicles. We sat in a long row with a short wall separating groups of four. This layout didn’t afford us any privacy, but the Finger was able to fly and make its mark with ease.
One day my friend made some sly remark to which I promptly replied, without looking up from my work, the Finger. It just so happens our manager was walking down the aisle and had evidently never experienced the Finger.
“You better be careful or I’m liable to file a discrimination complaint,” he warned
Still in my devil-may-care attitude I returned, “that will be hard to do, sir, we don’t discriminate against anyone when it comes to the Finger.”
Fortunately my manager and I understood each other. I knew he didn’t joke around much and he knew I did. A match made in aerospace heaven!