Surfer, Muppet, Gun, What?

My App Design 3 students are doing a math-heavy assignment, and as I explained what they were doing, I threw out a couple of Chinese  number handsigns, meant to emphasize that there were 6 sides on a die so 7 would roll an error. Ok, fine, so this math-heavy lesson was helping the kids make a cheat in a dice-rolling app. One of my students asked me what I doing with my hands.

Oh yeah, I said, it’s just a handsign I used for bargaining in Beijing, sorry kids, let’s get back to the app. The kids had a million questions, so I told them about my years in China, and taught them 6 through 10. (That’s Surfer, Muppet, Gun, Fingerpuppet, Fist, if you’re wondering.)  Sometimes I don’t feel like I’ve done very much in in my life, but I just sidetracked my games programming class with expat adventure stories, so, there’s that.

Later that night, I told Harold how funny it was, that I have so internalized the Chinese number handsigns that I used then in class for emphasis and clarity, forgetting that not everyone knows them.

He looked at me weird, and then asked me what number handsigns I was talking about.

Apparently I have been just throwing random hand signs around for years and no one has ever questioned it.

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4 Responses to Surfer, Muppet, Gun, What?

  1. Jennette says:

    We just thought you were throwing gang signs 🙂

    • Meg Stivison says:

      I’m pretty sure I have used them to emphasize numbers in pitch meetings too…. I wonder if people thought I was part of the finger-gun gang.

  2. Athene Numphe says:


    I went and looked up the finger signs. I really love the way you describe them!

    • Meg Stivison says:

      Thanks! I didn’t make them up, though, the expat hivemind all use variations on these. (I stopped after “gun” because the sign for 9 is “Red Rum! Red Rum!” and 10 is FIGHT THE POWER! )

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