It’s hardly their best song, but “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” is the hit that put the Georgia Satellites on the map and is quite catchy even if I’ve heard it way too many times. Any song that has the “jing-a-ling-a-ling” in the opening line can’t be all bad.
Most of us have been keeping our hands to ourselves for over a year now. I believe the handshake may be one of the things that never truly comes back if the pandemic ever ends. (With so many people refusing to get the vaccine, herd immunity may never be achieved, but let’s assume for argument’s sake that enough folks come to their senses. And, yes, I realize that’s a stretch in today’s America.)
I was taught at a young age how important a handshake is, especially upon first meeting a person. It was difficult in the spring of last year to suppress a half-century of instinct and not extend a hand upon meeting someone for the first time. Eventually, though, I got used to it. There was the occasional fist-bump or elbow-bump, but most often the handshake was replaced by a nod or half-salute.
The handshake may someday become a relic that in hindsight will seem ridiculous to have existed in the first place like neckties, those silly wigs our Founding Fathers wore, or decorative obstacles (sometimes called pillows) that your (my) wife puts between you (me) and the furniture. (Wanna sit down? You gotta work for it!)
A couple of weeks ago, I dragged myself to the doctor’s office after a few days of incessant coughing and congestion. Because I’ve already had COVID and, now, a second dose of vaccine, she didn’t test for COVID and merely diagnosed me with a touch of bronchitis or Bubonic plague.
While we were chatting, though, she noted something unusual — she had seen only one patient in the past several months who had the good ol’ ordinary flu. In the same way it’s good enough for Fox News personalities, this anecdotal evidence was good enough for me: I didn’t need empirical data to know that the flu has not been spreading because more folks have been social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding touching each other.
As someone who has gotten my two doses of Bill Gates’ mark-of-the-beast microchip, I look forward to the day when everyone (who wants one/has sense) has received their vaccines. I’m tired of wearing masks. I’m not willing to wear one to protect science-deniers and conspiracy theorists — if they get COVID, so be it. Mother Nature may have to help us get to herd immunity by culling the herd. (That’s on her, not me.)
And while I now know that masks and social distancing would cut down on other illnesses like the flu, I’d rather suffer a few days of the flu than keep wearing these aggravating, eyeglass-fogging masks.
Hand-shaking, however, can go away forever.
I attended one of the nation’s most pivotal tee-ball games last week, and my wife introduced me to a fellow who obviously sees himself as a big-wig. Before I knew it, he stuck out his hand for me to shake, and I did. Again, it’s hard to suppress a half-century of instinct. I was sure to look him in the eye and convey my genuine, heartfelt lack of interest in his perceived big-wigged-ness.
“It’s been a long time since I shook a hand,” I said, conveying what a privilege this here peon had just bestowed upon him while looking at my hand as if I’d just stuck it down a toilet in a gas-station bathroom that requires a key on a tire rim.
“I never stopped,” he responded.
“How ‘bout that. Of course, that means I’m gonna have to wash my hand now, just to be safe. I haven’t had to wash it since July.”
“That’s a joke, right?”
“Probably,” I reassured him.