Uh, O: 'OK, here's the joke'

Uh, O: 'OK, here's the joke' »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - Sign language instructor Jo Larson wants to make sure her students "throw the O" without inadvertently offending anyone.

"What to make sure of is those of you who will be working with small children, in the future, do not sign twinkle twinkle little star like a  diamond in the sky," Larson said, "because that would be like a vagina in the sky."

The infamous O - formed incorrectly - could be mistaken for the word "vagina" by people fluent in American Sign Language.

And holding the symbol up high?

In sign language, that would be like yelling the word.

To avoid any confusion, pay attention to your hands when you throw your O up.

"The way the O is supposed to be is very rounded, as opposed to anything that's triangular," Larson said.

Some Duck football players take Larson's class and have learned the subtle distinction between the symbols.

Not that they always get it right.

"When I do do it," admitted Ricky Heimuli, a Duck defensive tackle, "it's the wrong way."

Chrystal Wilson, president of the UO Sign Language Club, said the issue comes up every year.

"Every fall term we bring it up just to remind all the students in the class, OK, here's the joke," she said. "This is actually what this really means, actually what you're saying."