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I’ve said it before . . .

August 25, 2012

I don’t know where I’ve said it, but I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: If you’re sick and you shake someone’s hand, tell them you’re sick before you shake their hand, not after.

Personally, I’m in favor of eliminating the handshake altogether. I’ve read about the custom of handshaking and it doesn’t apply today so why do we insist on hanging on to the practice? Probably because we don’t know what else to do when we meet someone or find ourselves in a situation where a handshake is common practice. My suggestion is that we drop the handshake and rely on a simple upraised open palm and smile. Is an upraised palm and smile not a universal symbol of openness and friendship? Or the thumbs-up signal, what’s so bad with that?

Why is this handshake thing suddenly an issue today? Because earlier today I’m at the grocery store and as I’m walking out the door I hear someone behind me say, “Michael?”


I turn around and this guy I know is walking toward me and the first thing he does is shoves his hand toward me. My instinct is to recoil but I grab his hand to shake and let me break here to just say that if you’re going to shake someone’s hand then shake it like you mean it and don’t make the other person feel like you just dropped a wet, uncooked chicken breast into their hand. So I shake this hand that feels like a wet, uncooked chicken breast and the guy won’t release my hand. He holds on and gives a mini-shake every few seconds while he’s going into the “How ‘ya doin’s”, and the “Good to see ‘ya’s”, and the “Long time no see’s”.

 I’m fine, yeah, you too, not long enough now let go of my hand, please.  

It turns out – once this eternity long weak handshake ends – that my long-lost friend has a cold. Worse, as he’s talking to me he reaches up with his wet, uncooked chicken breast handshake hand, and rubs the bottom of his nose.

So I’m holding a bag of groceries in my left hand and I have, thanks to my friend’s snot-covered right hand, germs from what’s more than likely The Virus of the Century crawling up my right hand. The right hand that has to reach into my right pocket to get my car keys. The car keys I need so I can eventually, sometime before the VorC germs can make it up to my head, get into my car and lock the door and grab the Purell out of the little console thing between the driver and passenger seats.

Purell claims to kill 99.99% of germs but you have to use it in accordance with the FDA’s handwashing methodology which, to me, is 20 seconds. That’s a big squirt but I don’t care. An ounce of prevention, you know? A second squirt and I figured I got the other .01% of whatever it was on the guy’s hand. As well as a little left over to disinfect the car keys and the steering wheel.

So that’s my day.

Now what have we learned here?

1. Stop handshaking and rely on a raised hand and disarming smile, or a thumbs-up and smile instead.

2. If you have to shake hands then do it like you mean it and make it firm.

3. Don’t hold the handshake for longer than three seconds.

4. If you have a cold, do not leave the house. If you do leave the house, do not shake anyone’s hand without warning them.

5. Carry Purell with you.

That’s it. Happy Saturday. Happy blogging. Thanks for reading. Get some Purell the next time you’re out.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. TheOthers1 permalink
    August 25, 2012 8:09 pm

    This cracked me up a whole lot. LOL.


  2. August 25, 2012 9:30 pm

    LOL and Amen. Write on!


  3. August 27, 2012 4:20 am

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only germaphobe here.
    What I find worse than a handshake (yes, there is something worse) is when people don’t cover their mouths with a hankerchief when they cough/sneeze. That is just too gross! I just got back from some work related training and a participant there didn’t cover her mought…. yuck…


    • August 27, 2012 2:01 pm

      I hate germs. I hate people with germs. I hate people that don’t care they have germs. I hate germ-ladden handshakes. I hate weak soppy handshakes even more. You think just like me.


      • Michael Fishman permalink
        August 31, 2012 7:14 am

        What do they say about great minds?!


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      August 31, 2012 7:15 am

      I agree with you, Rita. The uncovered cough is one of the worst things going. Hands are bad enough, but at least they not shooting hundreds of billions of germs into the air like the uncovered cough does.


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