Friday, December 17, 2010

Has Fist-Bumping Replaced Handshaking?

The other day I went to referee a high school basketball game. The varsity officials came in and all three of them would not shake hands with me. They all gave me the fist-bump. What am I, 15 years old?

I thought it was just an isolated incident, but then I saw it again: Some dude extends a fist to me instead of an open hand for a handshake. What is going on? Have we become so anti-social that we can't even manage a proper hand-shake?

I know that in some cultures people bow, there is the kiss on the cheek(s), and there are various other traditions, but almost universally the hand-shake is recognized as the way that people greet one another in polite society. This is a way to show that you are not an enemy, and it starts off a relationship on the right foot.

The fist bump is universally recognized as the way that teens, or convicts, or athletes, or deranged people greet one another. The person on the receiving end of a fist-bump wonders if the next fist will be aimed at his nose. When I see it, I think of a caveman before he learned anything about anything just grunting and greeting all people with a fist-bump.

"Og, this is Grog." "Ugh." [fist-bump]

I, for one, will not adopt this appalling tradition. Some people might be afraid of getting sick, or passing germs, or squeezing too hard, but the hand-shake is the only civilized way to meet anyone.

The next time someone offers me their fist, instead of an open hand upon meeting, I might just sneeze on their hand. Then I will say, "Sorry, dude!"

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