With the same finger you might use to fly the universal symbol for defiance and violent disdain (yes, that; yes, the), you can instead bring peace, harmony, cooperation and communication to the world.  With little more strength than you possess in your daintiest appendage (the pinkie, I mean), you can control–yea, even hold back–one (perhaps many) of man’s mightiest implements of mass destruction.  All that with a single finger on your left hand.

One simple device grants you such power.

I refer, of course, to the noble turn signal–overlooked, underused, quite often despised and prejudicially ignored.  I’m convinced that this erstwhile lowly afterthought of automotive genius is one of man’s crowning achievements.  I believe that its habitual and rightful employment would significantly improve the condition of this sick, sad world.  Who knows, we might even hasten the second coming.  O yes.  For reals.

I can’t say for sure that it was one of my proudest moments, but I was certainly quite proud and felt an unusual warmth in my soul the day I witnessed my grown-up daughter express her own ardent affection for this underestimated instrument of pure goodness.  It went something like this (note that the actual dialog is somewhat interpolated and may be a mash up of more than one instance; there have been a few):

Christine (speaking with uncommon conviction to the rude driver ahead of her on the road): “A turn signal would have been nice.  Does your fancy car not have them?”
Me (hopefully): “So, you feel pretty strongly about turn signals?”
Christine (incredulous that I would even ask): “Duh.”
Me (barely containing giddiness but wanting to be sure): “Well, it’s just that so many people don’t quite recognize how important they are.”
(Brief pause.)
Christine: “I’m not an idiot.  They prevent accidents.  They’re a means of communication.  Th-”
Me (unintentionally–in my exuberance–and ironically acting like the cause of our frustration by cutting her off): “They’re a way to be polite to your fellow drivers. . . .”
(Conversation continues.  By this time I’m glowing and hoping she doesn’t notice my inordinate enthusiasm.  It embarrasses her when I’m too proud.)

Perhaps it’s to be expected.  My devotion has surely spanned more years than she’s been alive.  I did help teach her to drive and before that she was a frequent passenger when I drove.  But it’s not the kind of thing I remember making a big deal of.  Her recollection might be different (sigh; it often is).  Really, though, the turn signal is almost something I take for granted.  You’re going to turn?  You’re about to change lanes?  You signal your intentions.  To do otherwise would be akin to taking your hands off the steering wheel and closing your eyes while you accelerate.  Sure it could be done.  It probably is done . . . by idiots.

Maybe it’s even genetic.  Or maybe she’s just wise.  I don’t know, but whatever its cause, it’s one of many things about her that make me happy.  And it’s one of those things that convinces me that we share DNA.

So convinced am I of the worth of this glorious and brilliant light amidst the sea of darkness that is the American roadway, so committed am I to the cause of its proper appreciation and use that, I pledge to you, this isn’t the post that I write about turn signals; this is, in fact, merely the introduction to a recurring feature in this blog.  Indeed, in my mind, this is a spiritual issue.  You heard me.  I have much to say about the turn signal–much, especially if you’re scoffing even now, that you need to hear.

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