Practising The Salute


Ceremony is fading away from modern life – we all seem to meet and greet without the rituals and manners we once used. It is rare to greet someone with a handshake unless they are a commercial representative, and then you need to quietly count your fingers later. Women kiss the air near each others cheeks a lot when they meet, but they may be sniffing each other in the process – or maybe they just have lousy aim when they bob froward. And taking your hat off in a sweeping gesture while extending one foot toward the lady and bowing deeply is actually frowned on in lifts and supermarket checkout lines.

At least there is the military. Whether they are Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines, they all have their own characteristic form of salute. They drill their members in the correct procedure  – as much for differentiation between services as for military discipline. No recognition is made for left handedness unless their military service has removed the right hand. There are no end of finer points and little laws that concern who salutes whom and how fast they do it, and woe betide the cadet or recruit that fails to get the ritual right.

In some cases it is not even the arm salute. There are little stiffenings, heel taps, and postures that are required for the ritual – and you can be doing a waltz through the army base like Fred Astaire depending on who you meet and what you are carrying at the time.

Fortunately, in the Hot Rod Army there are few of these games played. When George Barris was alive everyone saluted him, but as he is dead it is pretty much left to the others to wave or not wave as it suits them. You don’t even have to use your right hand, or indeed all of your hand, as the opening photograph of a long-serving member of the HRA proves. The salute is quite economical in fingers, and can be done while carrying a doughnut or several Cheezels.

Occasionally you see the double salute when emotions run high. This is a tempting thing to do but you have to remember the instructions from the old Ghostbusters movie – don’t cross the streams…




And thanx to John H. who is patient and who has a good sense of humour…


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