The Gripper

Today’s guest post comes from Ben.

I was at the Farm Service Agency doing some paperwork and while waiting was talking with another farmer. (He was wearing a ‘Dekalb’ seed cap while I was wearing a ‘Meyer Seeds’ cap. Neighbor Tom was wearing a ‘John Deere’ cap.)

As Dekalb left we shook hands and as the shake finished, I distinctly felt my fingers slipping away from his. And I felt rather chagrined about that; like I let down the farmer brotherhood and he’ll be saying ‘He was a nice guy but he didn’t have a very good handshake...

I’ve noticed before that I release my grip before the other party does.

I need to work on that.

Now I’m not talking about the smoozy, glad-handing kind of shake—I know that guy and I don’t want to be him. I just mean a good firm run of the mill handshake.

Google gives me a nice article from Esquire magazine on how a man with a good handshake can do any thing he wants.

It also gave me ‘Alastair Galpin, the 2nd biggest Guinness World Record breaker of the decade 2000-2009 with 85 records broken. (Ashrita Furman, the top record holder has broken 551 Guinness records.) Alastair and Don Purdon set a new record for longest hand-shake at 33 hours and 3 minutes.

The-correct-handshake

Archaeological ruins show handshaking was practiced as far back as the 5th century BC. It’s possible the handshake originated as a gesture of peace to show that the hands held no weapons.

But there are many different ways of shaking hands or offering a greeting depending on the region or local custom.

Not to mention the possibility of spreading germs which has promoted the organization of Stophandshaking.com and various alternate methods of greeting such as the fist bump, bow, nod or ‘peace symbol’ among others.

There is that one handshake with a finger slipped inside to tickle the others palm while shaking hands. But I save that one for testing the mettle of college students in the shop.

I still believe in a good firm handshake and I’ll save the ‘fist bump’ for more casual greetings.

I just need to learn to hold it a beat longer.

When have you been glad-handed?

 

108 thoughts on “The Gripper”

  1. College reunions. Ugh. There are usually plenty of my college chums there, so I can avoid the glad-handers but they have oozed up to me a few times. One GH-er in particular stands out because it was so obvious what he was doing (which was not being just friendly) – I was on the planning committee that year and this gent had joined the cause. Fair enough. Except that he mostly never showed up for meetings. He would participate via email and called into a meeting once, but mostly was physically absent (even though he was local). Came time for the reunion itself and he is out shaking babies and kissing hands like he’s a politician running for office. He was very clearly working the crowd to expand his professional network. Let me tell ya bud, you and I work in similar industries and even though the market is tight, I will never recommend you for a gig. I have a low tolerance for arrogant schmoozers and you have that in spades.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Rise and Shake hands Baboons!

    A shy group of Baboons this morning–it must be the threat of germs.
    Ben, what an interesting topic, and who knew anyone could find illustrations of a handshake! That is pretty fascinating. I don’t think I could have ever thought of this.

    The last glad-hander I met is a local minister who I found offensive and nauseating. He was as shallow as anyone I have met in years. In fact, after he was assigned to my church, I left. Just could not tolerate the guy.

    AND, when he shakes your hand he looks over your shoulder to see if there is a “better person to talk to” anywhere in the vicinity. Leaving the person with a sense of…what… his total disinterest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes, the pastoral “hand-shake-pull-you-through-the-line” thing.

      Loathe it. I’d prefer not to shake that hand at all, and yet they insist.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. You ought to beat him to it and kind of put your hand out there but contorting to crane your neck and body way back around him so your hand just goes vaugley in his direction
      Make him reach for it while you are checking out the backdrop

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was glad handed by Governor Kasich before a union meeting. The Ohio Carpenter’s actually endorsed him, ignoring his anti union history. I was polite but peeved. Totally irked. My irkness and peevatude remain and fester in my soul but I feel better now. Thanks for letting me vent

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This may be more an urban phenomenon than a rural one, but I often feel when I shake hands these days that I am perpetuating a slightly passe ritual. It comes, I think from the sense that, if I hadn’t initiated it, no handshake would have happened. And goodness knows I am bordering on the archaic. Is handshaking going away?

    Aside from demonstrating you aren’t concealing any weapons, I think handshakes traditionally have signaled, “We are both on the same social level,” or at least, “We will never be on the same level, socially or otherwise but I am magnanamous enough to condescend to pretend that I regard you that way.” Social levels aren’t as clear cut as they once were and the need to affirm equality in that way may be less important.

    For personal greetings, the hug seems to have substantially supplanted the handshake. Of course, not everyone is a hugger or, for that matter, a willing huggee. For that we have handshakes. Or nodding, which is a kind of mini bow.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. When I first arrived in the US in 1965 I was surprised to discover that men did not routinely shake hands with women. Just wasn’t part of the etiquette. If a woman wanted to shake hands she needed to initiate the ritual. I found that rather odd and rather offensive, it signaled to me that women were not considered equal. I was forever sticking out my paw for a shake and could tell that most men were taken aback by it.

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      1. as you and the blacks have discovered. we can say we fixed it all we want but the evidence is there that we are still backwards bumbling bafoons

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  5. Nicely done Ben
    With links to esquire and Guinness….well written.

    Handshaking is a wonderful topic.
    I saw a friend a week or so ago and when I went to shake his hand he announced that he was transitioning to fist bumping because he had fallen and broken his hand.this was obviously an awkward transition for him that he had rehearsed giving the introduction to many times before I personally had my hand operated on in January for carpal tunnel and went through a couple months of not having enough strength and cringing at the discomfort of attempted handshakes to realize that the automatic nature of it is just part of the deal.
    Guys with overzealous handshakes or guys with vice grip handshakes have an image problem where they need to compensate for their lack of something with an overly manufactured handshake. The guys who have that little Casper milquetoast soft grip with flaccid fingers in your hand or another thing altogether
    Touch is the most intimate form of contact . You can tell so much about a person by when they touch and how they touch .
    Looking deep into someone’s eyes can get you into an interesting situations but that’s nothing compared with an odd or inappropriate touch
    But I’m wondering then if you ever tweak your farm buddies the same way that you tweak the students in the shop. But instead of the handshake where you put the finger on the inside and tickle their palms do you ever wear a seed with an oddball twist to make those guys wearing the pioneer or Nk seed caps look at you funny?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks tim.

      I’m pretty careful about who I give the ‘tickle shake’ too. I can’t think of any farmers to whom I would do that. Which is interesting to me. Why not?
      I will tell you the last time I did it was to the “boyfriend” of a girl who wasn’t sure she wanted him as a boyfriend. So she bought him to meet me. And asked me to give him that shake and tease him a bit.
      So I held his hand and tickled it for 5 minutes. All the while introducing him to others in the shop and keeping up a steady stream of conversation.
      He was only slightly taken aback; didn’t comment or anything.
      But it was enough to convince the girl he was more shallow than she wanted.

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  6. I’m shy and uncomfortable in many social situations, including anything involving hand shaking. As a writer who worked most of his life in his basement, I never got to (or had to) shake many hands, even when I edited a popular magazine. I just sat in my cubicle and wrestled with wretched manuscripts.

    I’ve had to shake a few hands in Oregon, but very few. Almost all my social contacts are with doctors, and I happen to know many doctors dislike shaking hands (for obvious reasons).

    I had a hand-shaking embarrassment a little over a year ago. There was a sort of going-away party at my home just before it went on the market. I expected three or four Baboons to show up, and (amazingly) about 13 of them were standing in my living room. Someone introduced me to a nice looking stranger. With my crappy hearing, I missed his name. Shaking the stranger’s hand, I asked, “Oh, do you have a connection with Trail Baboon?” Dale replied, “I am Trail Baboon!”

    Liked by 3 people

        1. I worked for MPR so was fortunate to meet Dale and JimEd many times. They even sat at my desk doing a show from Duluth. Aside from going through the things on and under my work station…there were the live shows I helped with in Rochester, Grand Marais, Hibbing and Duluth. A privilege and an honor. Still in awe.

          Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve always wondered if farmers regard feedcaps like designators of identity. Is a guy wearing a John Deere cap doing so to say, “I’m a Deere guy!” Is a DeKalb cap something like a sign that says, “I’m Catholic”? When I meet a farmer whose cap endorses Charolais cattle have I learned something about how he farms . . . or just that he doesn’t want his forehead sunburned?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that is likely true. AT least for Deere fans. My Norwegian cousin is a Deere fan — wanted to go to the factory when he visited here (too far out of the way) and they recently posted a photo on Facebook of the great-grandson in Deere attire.

        But DeKalb is another product…would it be Catholic as opposed to Northrup is, perhaps, Lutheran?

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      2. I can’t speak for others, but here’s my ‘choosing a cap’ process.
        For actual ‘farming’ where there’s a good chance a hat is going to get dirty and sweaty or run over or blown off or stepped on or burned, I wear an old cap that has become too dirty to wear to town.
        For ‘town’ caps, I have 7 hanging in the entry way. My regular choice is the Meyer’s Seed cap; it’s still clean enough to be seen in public (but it’s almost beyond that point) and it’s easily replaceable so it’s OK if it gets a bit dirty and sweaty.
        The other hats are cleaner and have emblems ranging from John Deere to Pioneer seed to USITT (a technical theater organization) to other random business.
        If I’m going somewhere nice I’ll wear a good clean cap. The black and yellow John Deere is my usual choice. But it’s too good to get dirty.
        And I have to be careful not to wear the Meyer’s cap if I’m going to Pioneer — or vice versa.
        Of course Meyer’s encourage me to wear their hat often.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Try not shaking offered hands. See how that goes over.
      Everyone shakes the pastor’s hand at the door: why?
      Yes, in my lifetime, first you never shook at woman’s hand. Now it is the norm.
      Shaking kids’ hands remains in limbo.
      Excellent post; some inventive prose, some crisp prose in the answers.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Do you offer an explanation when you decline shaking hands, Clyde? I know it’s painful to you, but I’m just wondering how you handle it.

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        1. I have reduced it to, “Sorry I do not shake hands.” Explaining seems like whining or takes too much time or somethings.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. Some people demand touch; social convention? Maybe human instinct? So even if you explain about pain, some will grab your shoulder or your arm and squeeze it or shake it. My wonderful pastor, who understands about my pain, does that. So I sneak out another door.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. I personally possessed a Walnut Grove feed cap and shirt base my Grandpa sold their products. I also have relies who worked for the Deere. Loyalty everywhere.

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  7. I haven’t been able to listen to news since I retired. I so appreciate it when Trail Baboon folks post songs…best company while eating breakfast! Almost as good as having the Morning Show on the radio again.

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    1. Why haven’t you been able to listen to the news, Cynthia? Don’t you own a radio, or do you live so far off the grid that you don’t get good reception?

      Like

      1. At work I had to listen to the news and music stations all day and also expected to monitor them weekends and evenings to be sure they were on the air. Since November I have welcomed the silence and happy to avoid all the bad news…politicians, tragedies, wars, terrorism…et al…the down side is missing the good news. But pick and choose NYTimes and New Yorker articles to keep up. I am sure I will return to listening again. I have several radios–one in each room of a small house, 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. On the first day of a Norwegian language class, the teacher started out with a lesson on hand-shaking in Norway. It is very important to have a firm one. Then she turned to me to shake my hand. I said, “Are you kidding, I milk goats!” and promptly over-gripped her hand. (Getting massage therapy now to loosen up those gripping muscles…)

    She went on further to explain that if Norwegians are shaking hands with friends, they may add a half-hug to the grip. Not too close, maybe just touching cheeks while still holding hands.

    Speaking of which, I must go milk a goat.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Good morning. I recently participated in a meeting with the outreach person at Senator Klobuchar’s Minneapolis office. I shook his hand at the end of the meeting. I think this handshake was a glad-handing handshake. I didn’t mind being glad-handed and I think I was doing a little glad-handing myself. I was lobbying him and trying to get his help on stopping the construction of pipelines that would carry tar sands oil. He was trying to win or hold onto my support for Klobuchar.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. i like amys premise but she is the butt kisser extrortinaire. i am not a fan of her not telling the right wings stiffs to take a hike. i love daytons diplomacy. i understand obamas

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Keep working on that pipeline obstruction, Jim. Enbridge is looking at a piece of my land for their Sandpiper pipe…so far I’ve been able to hold them off, but….

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I just wonder how archeological remains prove that handshaking has happened at least since 5th century BC. That implies that at least a few people were struck down (lightning, earthquake, REALLY rapid onset of the flu?) while they were greeting each other with a handshake. What are the chances?

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    1. You lost me, Lisa. How did you arrive the conclusion that people had to have been suddenly struck down during a handshake?

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  11. I generally don’t mind handshakes — even glad-handing, but I do detest the flaccid, limp handshake. It just makes me want to whack some backbone into the person.

    One handshake I do remember. Many years ago when I worked at Pillsbury, the backstage person for the show “Love Letters” with Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers called and wanted a Pillsbury Doughboy or something to remember Minneapolis. In exchange, I got 2 free tickets to show and a backstage pass. I gladly procured a pristine stuffed Doughboy and someone to come with me to show.

    After a very enjoyable show, we were ushered into the Green Room. The table was laden with a fruit tray and flowers. Then the suave and handsome Robert Wagner came in. He’s maybe 5’8″with a slight build. Stephanie Powers was beautiful but loud and brassy to me. We stood up and Robert came over, took my hand and put his other hand on top and looked me in the eye. I gushed about how much I loved the show. He sincerely thanked me and was delighted that I enjoyed it and he would treasure the stuffed Doughboy. I was enthralled. Don’t remember much about Stephanie Powers. She just struck me as brassy.

    Now that’s a handshake to remember!

    Liked by 5 people

  12. I confess, unless I know a man is a physician or dentist, or has some sort of disability, I am unimpressed if his hands are softer than mine.

    Yup, I’m old-fashioned.

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  13. If any Baboons are ever introduced to Native Americans, make sure you shake hands with everyone in the room, starting with the oldest person. The hand shake is really important in that culture and lets everyone know if you are sincere.

    Liked by 5 people

        1. Young Navajos are fully culturalized and expect a handshake, but a few of them still avoid eye contact. Inupiats also mostly do a weak handshake.

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  14. It is Mark Twain. I was trying to figure out who the other guy was. I suspect the illustration used in the header was an illustration used for a story and the handshaker on the left is a nonentity. On the other hand (handshaking joke), here’s a similar image where I can identify the handshakee:

    The person shaking hands with Mark Twain is actor John Raymond in the character of Colonel Mulberry Sellers from Twain’s play “The Gilded Age”.
    Here’s what Twain had to say about Raymond in his autobiography:
    “Raymond was great in humorous portrayal only. In that he was superb, he was wonderful– in a word, great; in all things else, he was a pygmy of the pygmies… Raymond was not a manly man, he was not an honorable man nor an honest one, he was empty and selfish and vulgar and ignorant and silly, and there was a vacancy in him where his heart should have been.”

    We might conclude that this handshake was insincere.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s interesting to me that Mr. Raymond is holding his hand so close to himself making Mr. Twain reach across the space TO HIM.
      Or is Mr. Raymond pulling Mr. Twain in?

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        1. I’ve never heard that suggested. And I don’t think Twain would be quite that oblique. Lots of personal qualities in Twain’s time went into being considered “manly”. The term comes up a lot in nineteenth century descriptions. I gather that Raymond in real life was simply a jerk.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Takes little effort to find Twain a jerk, like to most of his friends, his daughter, and all of his competitors.

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        3. In fairness, other descriptions of Raymond don’t remark on his character being reprehensible. He was a fairly successful actor and was married twice.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. 1. Twain eviscerates everybody sooner or later. So you never use his words as the measure on anyone else. 2. In piece called Come Aboard the Raft, Huck, Honey, Clifton Fadimon suggests Huck and Jim shared the close relationship of the sailors in Moby Dick, very badly hinted by Melville. So for my masters paper I had to address Fadimans probably joking accusation. Fadimans hate the book. So I read a bit of Twains private comments and some commentary about them. Attacking a mans masculinity was a common thing for him to do, always veiled in what I read.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Few are aware of the play, which gave the name Gilded Age to the age. It reads badly but was very successful, in large measure thanks to Raymond. Twain had a like/hate relationship with the coauthor, Charles Dudley Warner, in some part not wanting to share the success with him. I might guess Twain did not like that an actor was what made the play work.

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        2. Right. Twain could be funny, but at heart he was contemptuous of much of humanity. Some of his comic novels contain shocking portraits of people abusing each other. This is one of the ways he resembles Garrison Keillor. Keillor has penned some extremely harsh or demeaning descriptions of people, although I think he has mellowed considerably over the years.

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        3. It’s interesting to me the extent to which conventional masculinity, or the perception of it, seems to be an undertone in the discussion today. The expression of masculinity is frequently a fraught, fragile and beleagured topic. What comprises masculinity in the modern milieu would be an interesting subject for discussion sometime when the right trigger comes along. Femininity as well, but I don’t have the sense that the confines of feminimity are as brittle.

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        4. This fall I will reread the Fred Chappell books, in which I think the question of masculinity is an undertone.

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  15. Afternoon all. Like MiG I have to admit that a very limp handshake generally leaves me with a negative opinion, men or woman. I meet a lot of new people on a regular basis when I travel and so the handshake is still alive and well in my world.

    I have a friend who does the “glove” (love that I have a word for this now) handshake when meeting people, along with good eye contact. It takes you about a nano-second to realize that he is completely sincere and if you’re not careful, he’ll be a good friend of yours by the end of the conversation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. S&h is a lefty and I think he’s finally got it figured out the this is one of the things you just don’t do with your dominant hand (in his case).

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  16. Afternoon–

    Good comments so far. Dale found the top image and it’s lots better than the one I had found.

    My handshake with Dekalb really bothered me. I can still feel my fingers slipping away and I knew right then and there that was bad.
    So yes, since then, I’ve been giving better handshakes.

    Busy today; more later.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Just remembered the most awkward hand-shaking of my life. In the early 2000s, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced taking the wolf off the endangered species list. They sent the Department of Interior Secretary, Gale Norton, to Minneapolis to give a speech honoring this proud moment. I was there to observe the event, held at the Wildlife Science Center at Carlos Avery. Norton was chosen to defend the environment because she had been a lobbyist for the gas and oil industry.

    Gale Norton was interesting to me. A pretty woman, impeccably groomed, she represented every bad value toward the environment to be found in the Republican Party. She didn’t have different values from mine: she was WRONG on every single environmental issue!

    After her innocuous speech, Norton left to catch a plane back to Washington. She happened to walk by me. Spontaneously, for no reason I ever understood, she clopped up to me in her high heels and offered her hand. Part of me wanted to run in the opposite direction, but I’m too damn Middlewestern to be that rude. With mouth agape, I shook her hand. When she was gone I just stared at my hand in disbelief. I thought, “I just shook hands with the frickin’ Devil herself!”

    I held my hand far from the rest of me until I could go home and wash it.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Like your post because it really does touch on a topic that we think about but usually don’t talk about. And I love the waterless Republican hand sanitizers suggestion. Is there a mouthwash as well?
    Anyway, I hate to shake hands with someone who has a limp handshake. I think handshaking should be a required course in the first grade and repeated in the 7th grade just to ensure the darlings haven’t forgotten what they learned early in life. I’ve never learned the fist-bumping movements. I thought I was doing good to learn which hand to hold out for shaking. Do lefthanded people have difficulty shaking hands with their right hands?

    Liked by 2 people

  19. My Gale Norton story does raise an issue I’ve found troublesome. I’ve often disliked the way public figures get away with so many improprieties and bad decisions. I once told myself that if I ever met Bill Clinton, I would tell him he was a shattering disappointment to my daughter at a time she was falling in love with politics. But, gee, it just isn’t in me to greet someone and blurt out my withering contempt for them. I’m not a slave to “good manners,” and yet good manners increase civility, and there is too damn little civility in modern life. Were I to shake hands with Bill Clinton, I’d be polite but would say nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. and very probably a miserable husband, and yes a good Pres.

        I want to vote for Hillary just to see Bill as First Gentleman. Can he be seen and not heard?

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Linda, your handshake is just fine. And your ability to find end-of-the-day appropriate quotes and musical selections is even better.

      Like

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