Thursday, August 18, 2005

Is it really that hard?

Have you ever shaken someone's hand, and immediately wished you hadn't? We've all been there. Here you are, engaging in our polite and civilized method of greeting one another, and what do you get? A cold, moist, seemingly lifeless and ill-placed handshake. WOOF!

Why do guys do that? I say guys because women are supposed to have soft handshakes. Men, however, are supposed to have a man's handshake. That's like, one of the requirements.

Last December, while attending Les Miserables in downtown Hollywood, I noticed that pseudo-celebrity John Tesh was seated a few rows in front of me. John TeshDuring the intermission, I found myself standing behind him in the snack line. Now I don't know why, but for some reason I find it funny to meet lame celebrities. Not A-listers, mind you, I'm talking about E-listers here. If I were on a plane with Tom Hanks or George Clooney, I really wouldn't think much of it. However, the novelty of meeting a person like Mr. T or the kid from the Dell commercials is extremely amusing to me; I still enjoy telling people about the time I ran into Sinbad at Tower records.

Anyhoo, there I was, standing behind the eight-foot-tall gargantuan known to the world as John Tesh, and I decided to make contact. At this point, there were two very important facts I was overlooking that would have convinced me to abort my mission; 1. He is an established pianist, and 2. He is John Tesh. Either of those helpful pieces of information would have been enough to rule out any chance of receiving a real handshake. Nevertheless I shook the man's hand.

At first I thought he must have been holding a dead octopus. It most certainly did not feel like a hand, or any recognizable extremity for that matter. When I looked down to see what it was I was shaking, I realized it was his bare hand I was holding. I was speechless. What could he have been doing to make his hand feel like that? Does he soak it in mayonnaise? Had it been frozen and then recently thawed? Had he sustained some sort of chemical burn? Not likely. Unfortunately there was and is no logical explanation for the moistness of that man's hand. However the strength, or lack there of, can and should be addressed. Sadly, this is not a problem that only a few people encounter. On the contrary, this is an epidemic that has haunted millions. When shaking a person's hand, there are a few rules to know:

1. If your palms are sweaty, wipe them off on something before you shake someone's hand. Anything will do; your shirt, the inside of your pocket, the family dog, anything. Just don't allow another person to touch your hands if you've been stricken with "Tesh syndrome".

2. Get your palm square onto your partner's. None of this half-handshake monkey business. There is never, EVER a reason for that to happen. Nobody wants your lifeless hand slothfully latched onto theirs. Be a man! Get your entire hand all the way around the other guy's. Remember, your shaking hands, not fingers. If you have ever violated rule number two you should be ashamed of yourself.

John Tesh3. Don't get fancy. All too often people attempt to cover up their poor hand shaking skills by adding a snap or a slap or any combination of non-shaking movements. Remember, your not an expert. If any of these rules seem new to you then chances are, you'll never be an expert. While we're on the subject, Pastors and Seminary students alike seem to enjoy adding an arm-grab at the end. If you've never witnessed this, try to imagine a normal handshake, only with the left hand (typically the non-shaking hand) placed on the tricep of the shakee's right arm. It's almost like a way of securing the normal shake, forging a solid greeting that is unmistakably diplomatic. This form of handshake is acceptable, however it's usually reserved for Pastors and/or anyone over the age 65.

4. Never shake hands with John Tesh. I learned this rule the hard way.

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Blogger Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

Just be glad we don't still do that "greet one another with a holy kiss" thing. Think how much creepier it could be to describe a bad experience with one of those!

Mayonnaise handshakes give me the willies, too. Not that a gentleman should turn things into an arm-wrestling match if he's shaking a lady's hand, but she does at least want confirmation that it's a man's hand she's shaking.

Sunday, August 21, 2005 8:06:00 PM  
Blogger jmark said...

Excellent post - I really cant abide watery hadnshakes! Watery is a word that dewscribes not so much the moisture content, but the strength - as in "As weak as water"

Monday, August 22, 2005 3:08:00 PM  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...


Have you ever heard Dr. Joel Gregory preach? He took the moderate side in the SBC (even though he's a theological conservative) in TX a few years ago, but he used to teach preaching at SWBTS. He's an extremely gifted speaker. His sermons are poetic in style and solid in substance. Every word is crafted with eloquence. He's also a little fella with a voice not quite as deep as James Earl Jones that carries very well with or without a microphone.

Alas, he is also prone to the fish handshake. Imagine walking up to Darth Vader after a speech to shake his hand only to be let down by a lousy handshake.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 6:32:00 PM  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

So, when you met John Tesh and actually got around to shaking his hand, did you get all knotted up inside, draw a blank and found yourself blurting out something like, "I'm, like, your biggest fan"?

Hip and Thigh

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Joshua Ritchie said...

You had me in tears with this post! I rarely laugh out loud when I am alone unless something is really funny. You hit a home run with this one!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 8:23:00 PM  
Blogger Pecadillo said...

How'dya guess???

Actually, it took me a while to figure out whether Tesh was in line to get refreshments, or if he was waiting for a job application.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 9:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now THAT was funny.

Thursday, August 25, 2005 4:52:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Freeland said...

One of the greeters at my parents' old church used to offer dead fish every Sunday morning. Most of the adults learned to avoid him, but some of our kids thought it was fun to mess with him.

In my estimation, the only time it is ever appropriate to slap, pull, snap, and point during a handshake is when you're offered a mayonaise hand and need something to keep you from gagging.

Friday, August 26, 2005 9:00:00 AM  
Blogger Away From The Brink said...

I once had an instructor in Bible college that actually went out of his way to teath his male students how to properly shake hands.

He was ex-navy and would not brook anything less than a manly handshake. This man wore his hair in a crewcut when crewcuts weren't cool.

His mantra was "drive to the web." By that he meant, drive the web of your hand all the way to the web of the other man's hand. Do not hold out your fingers, making the handshake firm, not like a dead fish.

That was over twenty years ago that he taught me that, and I abide by that rule to this day.

The "dead octopus" line is a true classic.

Friday, August 26, 2005 4:16:00 PM  
Blogger mdurning said...

You fool! You are inviting the Men in Black down on your head. "Dead Octopus", indeed! Do a google search on "john tesh alien" and see what you get. I can't believe you haven't already made the connection.

Monday, August 29, 2005 3:48:00 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

This is one of the most funny blog entries I have ever read. I was in tears with my husband. Thank you!


Wednesday, August 31, 2005 1:36:00 AM  
Blogger Aspiring Girl said...

tesh's hair really sucks in those pictures.

Saturday, September 03, 2005 8:43:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs Pilgrim said...

Mind if I toss in a comment so much later than the last?

I'm a lady, and it's been observed that I have a firmer handshake than most men these days. I developed the "grab hard and release quickly" because people tend to assume that because I'm a pinky-girl, I'm a pushover.

That and I can't stand "sliders," who start out well enough, but end up dragging their fingertips back across your palm. Wiggy in a way I can't describe in mixed company...

Friday, October 27, 2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger carrie said...

Found your blog through the search term "ugly dogs". I am cracking up! Thanks for the laughs.

Saturday, July 07, 2007 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

John Tesh, Entertainment Tonight (E.T), 33rd Degree Mason, Squid-shake, Echelon, (Alien Occupation Forces) BEWARE of the ALIEN John Tesh!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 07, 2007 11:29:00 PM  

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