Doing the Wave

What is with everyone waving at you all the time? Just today I saw a woman dressed as the Statue of Liberty waving at everyone, holding a sign advertising a tax preparation business with “liberty” in its name; two extremely happy-to-be-alive individuals waving and dancing as they held very large arrows pointing drivers to the new homes builder’s offices; and a sweet fellow with Down Syndrome who waves to every passerby as he waits for his bus. At least, I think he’s waiting for a bus. Perhaps he just considers it a public service.

Then there are the giant inflatable Things that wave. Giant inflatable things that don’t wave are bad enough, like those wretched snow globes with Disney characters inside that populate front lawns during the holidays. But the giant waving gorilla (surely he’s waving; surely no businessman in his right mind would have a gorilla making a menacing gesture as an advertising icon), not to mention the ubiquitous Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man, are just too obnoxious for words:

Here in Florida, before every local election, we get candidates standing on busy street corners waving at the traffic. They always wear these enormous smiles, as if there is no greater joy in life than inhaling exhaust fumes. I find myself wishing just one of them would step into traffic by accident.

The only perennial waver I liked was the old guy in rural Vermont who spent several hours every day sitting by the road in a lawn chair, waving at every car he saw. His wave was short and terse, a sharp salute at the wrist, with a nearly imperceptible nod of the head: a taciturn acknowledgment that we’re all in this together.

And that’s something that Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man just can’t offer.

Thoughts? Comments?

Categories: Humor | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Doing the Wave

  1. indigo bunting

    I miss that guy in Vermont.

  2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of my favorite movies. But there is one scene, the one where the Judge gets flattened under the steam roller and comes out flat, waving, ribbony, that, for some reason, how shall I say, it freaks me out, man. I just can’t watch that part.

    SO I am driving from Graham to Saxapahaw to play nickelharp in a Swedish band (I don’t play nickelharp and I’m not Swedish but I rarely let those sorts of things stop me) and on Alamance/Saxapahaw Road (because all roads deserve two names), a road with scarcely a dozen businesses on it between the two towns, I see, in front of a funeral monument supercenter (“Get your giants urns now, Cheap, Cheap, CHEEP! His hat size might have been small but his headstone doesn’t have to be!”) a Giant Wacky Waving Arm Tube Man that stretched into snapping ribbony tubes fifty feet in the air. Or maybe a hundred or maybe higher because, frankly, anything over ten feet might as well be a hundred as far as Lucky, the one-eyed, accident-prone, epileptic writer is concerned. It, as previously stated, freaked me out. It is just so otherworldly, takes something I know as being one way and makes it seem to be a way it just should not.

    I have since met three other people who are freaked out by the same thing and also can’t stand that scene in Roger Rabbit. It’s a great conversation-starter at parties.

    Oh, and when Don Knotts tunes into a fish in The Incredible Mr Limpet. I had nightmares for weeks. I don’t watch that movie ever. A few years ago I discovered my wife was unnerved by that as a child as well and the movie is never seen in our house. I have come to discover that his being turned in a bespectacled cartoon fish scared and scares quite a few people regardless of their ability to swim. I find that funnier than the film.

    Oh, and the head constable from The Pirates of Penzance. The way his suit makes his arms and legs seem grotesquely long and whatever he does to make himself appear to have 360 degree swivel-joints. Freaky. But I think that one is just me.

  3. Your Pirates nightmare guy was the late, great Tony Azito. His trademark was that double-jointed, marionette-style movement that skeeves you out.

    He studied at Julliard, and was seen in many off- and off-off-Broadway cutting-edge productions. His incredible skill at dance and physical comedy gave the impression he was made of rubber. “When I started out, I thought I was going to be a Shakespearean actor,” he said. “Then I decided I was too weird-looking, too tall and thin—I’m 6 foot 3. But that’s helped me as a dancer. I’ve known a lot of dancers who were ten times better than me, but who were short. Turns out the market wants ’em tall and thin, so I got jobs and they didn’t.”

    In his memoir, Final Dress (1983), John Houseman ruefully remembers the time he discovered that Azito had had his Juilliard student I.D. photo taken while in full drag.

    His performance in The Pirates of Penzance on Broadway (a year before the film) earned him a Tony Award nomination; he won the Drama Desk Award for the same performance.

  4. I still think the above video is one of the funniest couple of minutes I’ve ever seen on television.

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