ONE FINGER SALUTE
On a recent trip to Wyoming, my wife and I took a rural road when we left Devil’s Tower National Monument. At one point, she asked, “Did you see the finger?” At first, I thought someone had flipped me off. Then, I remembered that in Wyoming you frequently get a one-finger salute from the driver in an oncoming car.
Now this one finger salute is not offensive like the other description of that gesture. It is NOT the middle finger. It is a simple lift of the index finger. Typically, it is on the right hand so that the oncoming driver can see it.
“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” I said to the wife. She laughed and said that when she was teaching her nephew to drive, she told him that it was a state law and that one is obligated to execute the one-finger salute. She carefully instructed her nephew in the finer points of lifting that one finger.
So for the rest of the drive back to the campground, I made sure that I had my right hand high up on the steering wheel and when a car approached I had my index finger poised, ready to flip up. I got excited when an oncoming driver reciprocated the greeting.
As we went along I noticed a few key elements. All the drivers that returned the finger were male. I tried to get a return finger from women drivers but was not successful. The wife said with authority, “Women don’t usually do that.” Another element that might have been just coincidental was that all the men were in trucks, which when you think about it isn’t really that earth shattering considering that almost every vehicle in Wyoming is a truck.
Initially, I thought maybe this unique friendly gesture was only a Wyoming nicety, but my brother-in-law informed me that South Dakota also embraces the greeting. I don’t know if other states have undertaken the one-finger salute. If you know of any, let me know.
So the next time you are in Wyoming or South Dakota driving on a country road remember that according to my wife it is a law that you must raise your right hand index finger. Happy trails!