No posing until you pay

By Debra LoGuercio

©Copyright 2004, Debra LoGuercio, all rights reserved

All I need is a money-grubbing lawyer (redundancy mine) and I'll be livin' large.

Following the lead of Yoga master Bikram Choudhury, who claims to have copyrighted 26 yoga poses and has filed a lawsuit to protect his "intellectual property" (read: you can't pose until you pay), it appears there's big money to be made in unclaimed body positions. And we're not even talking the X-rated ones.

Although Choudhury calls his poses "Bikram Yoga," the traditional poses themselves go back thousands of years and yoga practitioners consider them to be in the public domain. Choudhury justifies his claim by likening the poses to "Do Re Mi." A tune can float around for centuries, but once someone attaches words and a title to it, he says, that tune becomes his or her property. So pay up.

So. No matter how familiar or common, it's up for grabs if someone formally attaches words and a name to it.


Choudhury only claimed a mere 26 poses. The human body is capable of endless more, which means the copyrights are a-ripe for the pickin.'

Henceforth, the following poses are my property, by virtue of the fact that my words are now officially attached to them and because I say so (see column title). They no longer may be displayed until the appropriate royalties have been forwarded to their rightful owner. Namely, me.

Right out of the gate, I claim the Peace Sign. True, it already has a name, but no one officially snapped it up. Finders keepers. However, I won't charge royalties on the Peace Sign. I wish it to be displayed openly as a gesture of love and friendship, like Bear Hugs and Cheek Kisses (mine and mine, 50 cents each). Besides, I'll make a mint off the others.

First dibs also on Flipping The Bird, which now belongs to me in all its variations, from the Stealth Flip (glasses slyly pushed up the nose with an upheld middle finger so the boss won't realize what you really think of the new production schedule) to the Full Body Bird (arm flung skyward, the entire body quivering as it arches to tip-toe, teeth bared, eyes bugging out, and capped off with several stabs in the air of the middle finger). I also claim all ethnic variations, such as the Italian Bird: the arm holding the upheld middle finger sweeps up and is halted by a slap on the bicep from the opposite hand.

I'm not charging much for all the Birdflip variations -- just a quarter a pop, because this will be my cash cow. I'll clear a couple thousand a day just from LA rush hour drivers alone.

The Crotch Grab is now my exclusive property. From now on, grabbing one's crotch in public will cost a billion gazillion dollars, times infinity. And if it's done onstage as "entertainment," the fee's double. Even Bill Gates himself can't afford the Crotch Grab, so we'll never be subjected to this lowball display again, except from those who really need it: fidgety toddlers whimpering "Mommy, I gah go NOW!!!" Usually accompanied by a few hops and a wiggle.

No charge for the Grab, but the Hop And A Wiggle is two bits. Hey, I have a business to run here.

Next, I claim the Deep Cheek Extraction, displayed when one's panties have unexpectedly morphed into thongs. This situation is so uncomfortable that it causes hallucinations -- we think no one can see us put one arm behind us, lift one hip and fish that bunched-up material from where the sun don't shine.

That'll cost you a buck, ladies. (This ones a loser. I'll be paying royalties to myself.)

You'll pay big for the Just Too Cool. This gesture seems to be peculiar to men - the ones who're too cool to wave "hello." They merely tip their chins up in the other person's direction as if saying, "I see you but you aren't worth the effort of lifting my hand." Fifty bucks for that one. Because, buddy, you just ain't as cool as you think you are.

Another hefty charge for the You Suck So Bad. Parents, you know this one. Teenagers display it during a much-deserved chewing out, like when they're an hour late or have spent the afternoon on the phone rather than doing their homework. First, the teen shifts her weight to one foot, thrusts that hip out and places her hand on her hip. The head cocks toward the out-thrust hip, the eyes roll skyward and a little "ugh" of disgust is quietly exhaled.

Cough up a ten-spot, kids. Because you should have listened to Mom in the first place.

Now that we're all clear on who these poses belong to, we'll keep the bookkeeping simple. Just estimate your annual combined royalties in advance and send your check, made out to me, in care of this newspaper. I'll send a bill for the difference. And be warned: don't try to use my poses without paying or you'll be getting a call from my money-grubbing lawyer.

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