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Waving flags for a different reason

Have you ever wanted to argue with a stranger? Perhaps one of your neighbors is attempting to call down the ghost of Nero with their enlightened debauchery, or smoking enough ganja to emulate the great witches’ cauldrons of the past, but how does one communicate these feelings of anger and rage without knowing their phone number or social media? With COVID-19, it’s not like you could mosey on over there and blow out their ears with your righteous fury, but don’t worry, one enterprising TU student has found an answer in an unlikely place: ship-to-ship communication using flags in patterns to indicate certain letters — like flag sign language. This student, Seymour Fahne, was willing to give an exclusive interview to The State-Run Media, and we didn’t even have to threaten his family! What follows is an unedited and unadulterated transcript of that interview.

Hello Seymour! Would you like to tell the audience a bit about yourself?
Sure! My name is, of course, Seymour Fahne and I’m a third-year graphic design and computer information systems double major with a minor in history. After college I would like to help, oddly enough, increase the efficiency of communication between individuals by developing software that will provide more detailed linguistic translations based on an array of idioms taken from firsthand accounts of local language… [Ok I lied. It is edited because this goes on for, like, 10 more minutes] … and after that we will adopt an Australian shepherd to solidify our relationship to the great country of Australia and unite our households of linguistic mastery and …

That is certainly an ambitious and deeply thought out plan, but how did you reach the idea of using flag semaphore to communicate on campus? Please keep in mind that we do have a limited amount of time for this interview, please.
Oh don’t worry, don’t worry. The story is actually pretty lame and surprisingly short! During spring break of last year, I was watching a documentary on World War II naval engagements, specifically how the H.M.S. Hood stalked the German warship Bismarck, which symbolized the Third Reich’s resentment of the Treaty of Versailles’ limitations on Ger … [Thankfully this interview was conducted remotely, because I was already browsing Netflix, my Steam library and YouTube in turns while he went on] … and when the H.M.S. Hood had a violent explosion that immediately rendered … [You ever play “Stardew Valley”? It’s pretty good] … and then the Bismark signaled the crew of the surviving British ships about her surrender using, and get this, a burning fire on her deck. Can you believe that?

Mr. Fahne, could we please get to the origin of your idea of using flag semaphore?
Oh, yeah, right. These dudes on the Hood were waving these flags at another ship, then the other ship waved some flags back. I had no idea what they were doing so I googled it and found out it was flag semaphore.

How did you implement this system on campus?
It was pretty easy! I simply printed the flag positions and posted them around the various buildings on campus. Once you learn the positions for each letter, you can immediately start communicating! Of course, you send one letter after another, so it takes a while to send complicated messages, but that’s the price we pay for safety!

Have you had any … incidents using this means of communication?
Yeah, a couple, but I find people are more willing to listen to what you have to say when you send flag signals. It’s pretty hard to send a signal back, thinking about the positioning of your arms, while you try to translate their own signals, so patience is key, as my mom would say. Though this has had the odd side effect of continuing to transcribe a message you don’t really want to know the answer to. For instance, someone took my suggestion to turn down his music really poorly, and he motioned back a rather aggressive message on how he would have sexual relations with my mother, and it was impressively graphic! However, I couldn’t turn away! My mind wanted to see the end of the message, so of course I stayed stock still while he continued to signal … [I think Penny is the best girl in Stardew. She has a heart of gold and doesn’t deserve to live with her mom like that] … and then he signalled that he knew where to find my family… [please end me] … then I decided that his dog was a little too nosy and slipped him some laxatives …

Well Mr. Fahne, thank you for the interviewbyenowseeyoulaterpleasedon’ttalktomeagain.

Post Author: Adam Walsh