Saturday, April 21, 2007

Twiddle About

"If twiddling the thumbs were an Olympic sport, you would surely be assured a medal", I was taunted the other day. An Olympic sport? Surely, you jest. Twiddling thumbs is no sport. No, it is no simple means of amusement. Twiddling thumbs, is high art. It is, in fact, the rarest of rare gifts, bestowed only upon a chosen few. To call it a mere sport, even an Olympic one, is to belittle this greatest of art forms.

Not everyone is born with true talent. One can, however, over time, learn the basics of the art. And while I cannot yet claim to be an expert, I have enough experience to present here, for the benefit of the uninitiated, a guide to the dark and mysterious world of thumb-twiddling:
  1. The basic twiddle. The simplest and most common of the twiddles. In this, the hands are generally held loosely together, with the fingers intertwined, and the thumbs gently tapping against knuckles or webbing of the opposite hand. A common variation is having the thumbs tap each other at the tips.
  2. The fingertip twiddle. The fingertip twiddle is carried out with both hands open wide, joined at the fingertips. The thumbs typically twiddle in unison.
  3. The nervous twiddle. In the nervous twiddle, the hands are clasped tightly together, with the thumbs knocking furiously against each other. It can be easily identified during the last few minutes of a tense game.
  4. The open palm twiddle. This twiddle is characterized by having both palms open wide and fingers stretched all the way, intertwined only at the tips. The thumbs twiddle synchronously either laterally or in a circular motion. It is usually accompanied by a long-drawn yawn.
  5. The knuckle twiddle. Twiddling in this case is complimented by fingers rapping on knuckles. One hand is folded, while fingers on other hand are used to rap knuckles. The twiddling is usually in synch with the tapping, though it is not a strict requirement.

Remember, like all serious art forms, thumb-twiddling requires great dedication. Only through constant practice can you perfect the skill. Once you are comfortable with the moves listed here, you are encouraged to improvise. Try combining twiddling with other skills such as knuckle-cracking and finger-drumming. You are also encouraged to try and come up with your own personalized twiddle. Only once you have mastered this great dark art, you will realize, like I have, that there are few pleasures in this world as wholly satisfying as an idle twiddle of a flippant thumb.


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