Avoidance of hand-shaking cramps style

For the Monitor
Published: 3/12/2020 12:18:07 PM
Modified: 3/12/2020 12:17:53 PM

For the second time in less than four hours, I read and heard the word “virologist” for the first two times ever in my life. Barely able to pronounce the word without chewing it up, I soon understood that virologists study viruses. All kinds. Every kind I suppose. And with the hot topic this week being the coronavirus, well, I figured I should stop watching videos on Facebook of my friends playing music in bars and educate myself on this deadly disease that seems to be a sneeze away from killing me.

The political pundit, former member of the House of Representatives and radio host, Arnie Arnesen from Concord, posted on Facebook some strict advice from Dr. James Robb, a virologist of the highest order, a czar when it comes to the coronavirus. His instructions were like many other leading health officials: disinfect, soap up, lather, lots of hot water, and, please, refrain from belching in your little brother’s face. That kind of stuff.

But some of Dr. Robb’s counseling would really cramp my daily flow. For instance, Dr. Robb suggests not shaking hands with others. Some may sigh with relief for that one. I understand. Personally, I have a big issue with Robb’s suggestion. I spend most my days pressing hands with others, pledging my allegiance, my commitment to their services. I’m comfortable with it. Haven’t always been, but, now I am. If properly executed, the handshake is the ultimate deal maker.

Then again, what’s the alternative? Elbow bump? No thank you! I would rather fall flat on my face tripping over my feet down the aisle of a movie theater, popcorn in hand, than go elbow-to-elbow with some other dude. A head nod, sure. An elbow bump, or, dear God, no, not the intolerable fist bump! Loathe this cultural phenomenon!

It’s time we recognize the true lameness in that ritual. Since the fist bumps inception some years back, I never liked it. Feel like a clown doing it. The high-five is more than enough. It’s a sad substitution for an honest handshake, like the one your father and grandfather taught you. Eye to eye, subtle up and down motion, firm grip, enunciate your greeting.

Plus, I mess up the fist bump all the time. Trained to go for the hand when I see an arm extended in my direction, I always end up half slapping and punching some guy’s hairy fist when our signals get crossed. We both end up looking ridiculous.

This just happened last week at Conseulo’s Taqueria in Manchester. I was picking up some quesadillas and the owner of the place reached over the grill for a fist bump. Should have been easy enough, right? Couple dudes respectfully greeting each other. But I screwed it up by shaking his silicone gloved fist, laughing uncomfortably and leaving the place even less at ease than when I arrived. But that’s another story.

Dr. Robb does touch on some precautionary measures that pique my interest. Like opening doors with a closed fist or hip and flicking light switches with your knuckle. I like it. I do it. Often times, I see a door as a massive barrier trying to hold me back. And, well, that’s why I like to kick doors whenever I can get away with it. Something freeing about it. Not very hard, but enough to let that door know that I’m coming through, like it or not. Some doors swing harder than others. Some barley swing at all. But they all open one kick or another.

Finally, with all this talk about washing and flicking and kicking, coughing and belching, why don’t we all settle on just wearing gloves and masks for the next few weeks and be done with it. We can have some fun while the crisis gets worked out. We can play dress up, wear cool ventilated masks with teeth marks and scars on it, line our hands with elbow-high leather gloves. Heck, go all out and wear a cape if you want. Don a sombrero. Whatever it takes.

However, you decide to protect yourself from this “low level” crisis, do it well, do it often and have fun with it. But remember, Mama’s chicken soup isn’t going to cure this flu.




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