Monday, November 21, 2011

A Bouquet of Sardines

H Armstrong Roberts:
"Men Shaking Hands"
I once had a guy look at me with a cheese-eating grin and a superior attitude, and say: "Life is simple, really." I didn't punch him. I really should have, but I refrained, especially since he was my boss at the time. (See? Complicated.)

My point is, that even the seemingly simple is complicated. Handshakes, for instance.

As long as I live, I will never understand how a man makes it through life with a flabby handshake.

The other night, I was playing a job with my band and I saw a fellow I hadn't seen in a long time. I reached out to shake his hand. [Long Pause. Me, looking skywayrd to find a way to describe the indescribable.] It was like squeezing a cluster of warm sardines. This, as many of us know, is one of the most unpleasant social interactions possible.

What I want to know, is, first, how come no one ever taught this guy to shake hands properly and, second, how can it be comfortable to have your hand gripped and squished into a fleshy tangle, time after time; year after year; decade after decade? It just has to feel weird.

A famous cinematic death grip
I'm not a fan of the death-grip either, but at least I understand that one -- it's a dominance thing. But the bouquet of sardines . . . I just can't imagine how you can experience that (and deal out that unsettling experience) repeatedly, well into adulthood, and never pick up on the utter ookiness of it. I'm mystified.

As my old professor used to say, "Jesus, people..." Have a look at your shakes and ask yourself: "Do I make people feel yucky with every chance meeting?"

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