A good firm one is always preferable…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to run a finger end under the outer seams to free them from the wooden substrate, put a nice toffee in your mouth and suck it, do not chew – you must suck only. Take out your rubber brayer and press down on any creases that you notice in the leather top-top. Light the two oil burners and adjust their wicks to a clear and even yellow flame. As the trunk warms up think about rubbing some lard from the plastic box (provided) into your hands and feet, but don’t actually do it – that will come later – mental preparation is everything! Take the two magnets out of their green felt sleeves and place them north-south to the east and the west. Close your eyes, hum a pleasant tune if you wish, and sit and wait for the three elves to turn up.

‘How do you feel about touching someone else’s flesh?’
‘What?… What do you mean?’
‘You know… Shaking hands – when you feel the soft, warm, sometimes moist, flesh of a complete stranger’s hand…’
‘Well, I…’
‘I’m not sure about it myself, but people have been doing it for years and years I suppose.’
‘Yes, I suppose they have – it’s a funny thing to do, when you come to think of it…’
‘Indeed, hands are very sensitive things, packed full of nerves they are.’
‘Are they?’
‘Oh yes, bristling with ’em.’
‘The thing is, I suppose…’
‘What is the thing?’
‘It’s that it’s usually strangers that you do it with, isn’t it?’
‘Yes, that’s right – it’s not often that you perform one with someone that you know.’
‘That’s true – did you just say “perform”?’
‘Er, yes, I think I did. Why?’
‘Well the word “perform” is usually associated with, er… other things…’
‘Is it?’
‘Oh yes, I think so – would you say “performing” a handshake?…’
‘Hm, maybe not then…’
‘I’ve heard it said that it goes back millions of years – to show the empty hand – no weapons, see?’
‘Yes, probably, I’m not really that sure.’
‘A hot sweaty handshake, that’s not very nice, is it?’
‘Certainly not.’
‘Then after one, surreptitiously wiping your hand on your shirt, pretending you are scratching a chest itch – we’ve all done that, haven’t we?’
‘A chest itch?’
‘Well, I haven’t.’
‘No… It’s a bit like just waving at someone, but…’
‘A lot more intimate?’
‘Intimate. Yes!’
‘Me, I’d wave to anyone, even strangers.’
‘I would too, and do.’
‘And do?’
‘Yes, did you mention weapons earlier?’
‘I did, what’s on your mind?’
‘Military people, they don’t shake hands much do they?’
‘Not at all, apparently – not allowed – they salute instead.’
‘Now saluting, that’s a bloody weird thing!’
‘Isn’t it just? When you stand back and get a bit of perspective on the thing – it’s er…’
‘Yes! And there’s no body contact in it at all, it’s all done from a short distance, but definitely no touching!’
‘But there seems to be no embarrassment in it for them though – they just do it, as if it’s a perfectly normal thing to do.’
‘Me, I’d feel pretty foolish if I raised my arm sideways, brought my hand up to my head, and then snapped it back down again to my side…’
‘Ah, but only after another person had responded in kind.’
‘In kind?’
‘Yes, it takes at least two participants when it’s performed properly, except in front of a mirror of course.’
‘The powers that be are very particular about how it has to be done, heaven forbid if you get even the slightest detail wrong.’
‘All part of the indoctrination process, making the ridiculous seem normal, so you do exactly as you are told.’
‘No questions asked!’
Right! You heap of miserable festering useless cannon fodder! This is how you salute – see! I want that perfect by tomorrow morning or you are all for it – big time! In the afternoon all you pathetic riff-raff will be going out to learn how to shoot and kill people quickly and efficiently, and without using up too much expensive ammunition! I want proper salutes and clean weapons! Got that?…’
‘Gosh, very good! You have obviously missed your calling! I did enjoy that!’
‘Thank you… Drama school you know. Look, I’m sorry, but I must be off now, I’ve left a flan in the oven… No, I won’t shake hands, I was handling some live eels earlier, I’m still a bit slimy.’
‘No worries, I completely understand… Same time tomorrow then?’
‘Of course… Wave wave!…’
‘Wave wave!…’

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in brain, conversation, drama, humour, instruction, learning, people, surrealism, sweating, thinking, war and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to A good firm one is always preferable…

  1. Jheron Bash says:

    Hand shakes are changing styles though, aren’t they? What with high-fives & fisty-type things. Don’t suppose that would work well in a job interview though. So would saluting, for that matter. Hugs & kisses seem a lot more popular too. Can’t beat a firm handshake 🤝 if you ask me. Best to wash your hands as soon as possible though!

  2. Jheron Bash says:

    No, I meant “Neither would saluting, for that matter.” Certain salutes can get you into a lot of trouble anyway …

  3. You can tell a lot about a person with how they shake hands. I always shake hands and then tend to think that I shouldn’t have……also when I was younger (like under about 10) I went through a phase of always saluting…..even in my school photo I was saluting!..*cringe*

  4. Dana Doran says:

    You know Dave, sometimes……..cannon fodder?

  5. Dana Doran says:

    Or, merely an algorithm…

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