By Del Duduit
The Coronavirus is wreaking havoc across the world.
People are losing their lives; their jobs, and their retirement hopes because of an invisible monster.
Social distancing is the new catch phrase and will become a part of the norm for the next generations to come.
From now on, even when the threat is gone, people will still be cautious about getting too close, and with good reason.
One social gesture that I believe will be gone for good is the friendly and trusty handshake.
I was told that you can judge a man by the way he greets you.
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I think we have seen the last of this greeting – and yet I’ve never understood why we did it in the first place.
You walk up to a stranger and stick out your hand, grip theirs and move it up and down. Why?
There is also etiquette that goes along with it. You use your right hand and follow proper customs. Who thought of this?
Handshaking goes back as far as the fifth century B.C in ancient Greece. There are archaeological ruins that depict soldiers shaking hands.
The gesture was thought to be a way to determine if the person possessed weapons. It was the original form of a friendly frisk method. However, the Romans were known to hide daggers in the sleeves of their robes to catch their foes off guard. I guess the first form of the sucker punch was born that way.
I’ve shaken hands all my life. And you have too.
When I was given my diploma, I shook the hand of my principal. I shook hands with members of the opposing team at mid-field before the coin toss. It’s done at the close of a business deal and when you fellowship with others at church.
Shaking hands is a way of life. Its purpose is to convey trust, respect, balance, and equality.
I’ve shaken hands with people in need and with people of fame. Hands don’t know any distinction. They just go up and down.
There are many forms of the handshake, and each one can send a message.
The dead fish: Have you ever shook the hand of a person, and the hand is just limp? I’m told that’s a sign of a passive personality. Yuk.
The hand crusher: I avoid these people. I don’t want to go to the emergency room after a person strangles my hand. People who might like to intimidate might do this … or a farmer who milks cows every day.
The hand hug: This is when the person greets with the right hand and covers your hand with the left one. This is a sign of being trustworthy or gentle. Go figure. I had always thought it was annoying and that the person was needy.
The shug: It’s the combination of a handshake and a hug. I’ve read that it’s a gesture of being friendly and open. I think it’s awkward and that people cannot make up their mind which one they want to do.
The dominator: This is when a person raises his or her hand higher than yours and has the palm down. This is a sign of superiority and confidence, so I’ve read.
Someone has put a lot of thought into something that is supposed to last 3-4 seconds.
How do you know which one to use and when? That’s too much pressure to put on someone you just met. How do I greet them? Which shake do I use? How long?
But now, I believe this greeting will fade away.
Handshakes are known to spread germs. The fist bump became popular after the 2009 HINI pandemic.
Today we face another pandemic, and many health experts recommend maintaining a social distance and putting the kibosh on the handshake.
What will take its place? The elbow bump? The foot tap? For some reason, I cannot imagine two big guys sticking their feet out to greet each other, especially on the football field.
My vote is nothing. It’s not needed. No fist bump. No high-five. How about a simple “hello” or “hi” or a friendly nod or smile? To me, it’s an unnecessary bad habit I’m willing to break. Plus, the other suggestions are too goofy.
What bad habit do you wish to end?
Maybe it’s procrastination. Perhaps it’s the poor choice of words in a heated discussion. Maybe It’s going somewhere you shouldn’t be for obvious reasons. Or perhaps the habit goes deeper than you want. It doesn’t matter. You can break the habit. If you know it’s bad, then get away from the source.
Don’t just do something because everyone else does. Strive for what is right and just.
And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12: 2 KJV
This habit will be difficult to break, but I’m up for the challenge. I’m sorry that it took a major pandemic to put an end to this form of greeting, but I’ll gladly say “goodbye” to the handshake.
What habits will you break?
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
Be sure to join me live on #PJNET every Tuesday at http://PatriotJournalist.com/?meta=2