Goose/The Finger

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Tue Jan 22 16:10:15 UTC 2002

In a message dated 1/22/02 1:18:17 AM Eastern Standard Time,
lancedm at MISSOURI.EDU writes:

<< I associate goosing with the thumb or index finger.  But in Texas when I
 growing up in the 1940s the goosing was done to the ribs and had only
 risibility connotations. >>

In my own experience, "goose" has always meant to poke someone in the
buttocks.  cf the spoonerism "Will John goose Sadie's cook?"

There is another use of "to goose", which I strongly suspect is related.  "To
goose someone into action" means "to take some unspecified action to get
someone to start doing what s/he is supposed to do" with the implication that
obscene methods were not ruled out or that the methods to be used were
equivalent to kicking the defaulter in the buttocks.  The object of "to
goose" could also be an inanimate object, e.g. a computer.

Then there is the phrase "three-finger salute" meaning to use the CTL-ALT-DEL
keys to reboot a PC.  One strongly suspects this is derived from the middle
finger salute.

There exists a once-world-famous nonce synonym for "the finger".  After the
North Koreans captured the USS Pueblo, they published a photograph showing
the Pueblo crew, each member of which was displaying an upraised middle
finger.  It seems the crew had informed the North Koreans that this was "the
Hawaiian good-luck symbol."

(This is the same crew that said "we would like to paean North Korea".)

Aside to Mark Mandel---the abbreviation "so." is ambiguous, because it could
mean either "someone" or "something".

               - Jim Landau

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