Whenever my mom starts waxing poetic about her childhood (“And I had to slog my way through a alligator filled-bog every day just to get to school, and since my parents were too poor to buy me shoes I had to wrap my feet in wax paper, yadda yadda deeda”), I find that the quickest way to shut her up is to show her the gesture whereby I rub my thumb against my middle finger.
I only kind of know why this is a good thing to do when people are complaining about something, or looking for sympathy.
When I rub said appendages, I know that I am “playing the world’s smallest violin.” But what am i playing? A regular, run-of-the-mill song? A dirge? Or is it something specific?
And why is that an appropriate gesture for such a situation as outlined above? Should I have to play this violin for people unfamiliar with the gesture, what, exactly, should I say I am doing (“Here, I’m playing you a song on the world’s smallest violin.”?), and WHY am I doing it?
Whereforth does all this violin nonsense come from? I want to be able to insult people in an educated manner.