Shaking the Fist Bump

Posted: November 12, 2014 in Tim Braun
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m a simple person filled with simple thoughts and simple plans. Simply put, I’m a bit of a simpleton. That’s why when the roaring choo-choo of ideas comes at me flying all willy-nilly down the tracks, I prefer to just jump on the first boxcar that has a door open and fight the hobos that live inside for my tiny corner of train real estate.hobo

That being said, I can come up with some analogies that blow my simple mind. The aforementioned railroad analogy was one of those. Consider my mind….well….blown.

Back to my single-minded tendencies. Yep. Already distracted. Anyway, over the past several years I have become aware of a growing tendency in this country to confuse the crap out of me. I’m not saying it’s personal and I’m not saying it’s intentional – but it is on both accounts whether I say it or not. The simple fact is:


I mean I know what to SAY to people when I meet them and I’m not (against all popular belief) a horrible person to get to know and have a conversation with. I mean the actual act of going up to someone for the first time. Here are the options as I see them in relative order of occurrence:

  • Handshake.  The traditional method of greeting in my area. This time-worn tradition has been passed down through multiple generations of peoples and been a proven method of greeting as approved by GASEOUS (Greetings Are Simply Elementary Over the United States – founded 1928 by A. H. Shake) – the national greeting organization. Firm, ridiculously firm, breaking your fingers firm, wet worm, whatever – all are forms of the basic handshake. Even the guy with the sweaty hands where you slip and slide all through the passing of millions of tiny germs – you stifistbumpll shake his hand heartily and with great fervor.
  • Fist Bump. This new method of greeting has recently been reviewed and vetted by GASEOUS. It was created by people who felt that the outside of their hands were cleaner than the inside of their hands – and that their knuckles themselves have never been exposed to the germs flying around randomly in the air. Secret for you guys – I sneeze every day on the outside of my hands using the vampire method. So there germ-mongers. Fist-bump away. Oh, and Appendix A to the GASEOUS Fist Bump chapter is the ‘Pull back from the Fist Bump and Explode Your Hand for Some Reason While Making an Odd Spitting Noise’ amendment. Please be sure that you’re familiar with this amendment.
  • High 5/Gimme 5/Slap Me 5/Jackson 5. This now mostly frowned-upon method of greeting was approved by GASEOUS in 1968 after a push from the hippie movement in San Francisco and has remained a viable, if somewhat challenging, greeting. The height of the slap can vary from person to person and from country to country – so the difficulty is attempting to guess the height of the hand of the oncoming person, quickly judging nationality, race, religion and upbringing…and then using the GASEOUS handbook to measure your speed and direction of response. One miscalculation and you have the dreaded missed hit.
  • Full Hug. This, unless previously approved by the opposite person, can get you in LOTS of trouble but CAN be a viable greeting. Handy tip, never should the hands reach below the waist of the other person, especially on first meeting. I say this from personal experience and with compbrohuglete approval of my lawyers and parole officer.
  • Bro’ Hug. This has recently been approved by GASEOUS and is a male greeting intended to show great feelings while hiding the fear of intimacy by most men. It’s a hybrid between Option 1 and Option 4 above and requires a great deal of coordination to master. Otherwise, you’ll more than likely wind up crashing into the other person in a comical manner that will knock your sunglasses off and wind up with both of you falling off the curb into onrushing traffic. Trust me.

Yes, there are others – the sideways handshake, the top/bottom fist bump, the acromial lethargic finger shake…but the above are the top five on the latest GASEOUS bulletin (15 Stroke 4 dot 2 point 1).

So the top five are pretty clear and well-defined, eh? Life should only be this simple. The problem comes when it’s time to execute one of the above with someone walking towards you. Which do you choose? You can’t keep a data bank of all people that you’ve met and know which greeting they prefer. Are you the antagonist and shove out your fist first to preclude confusion? Are you the protagonist that waits for the first twitch of the opponent’s wrist and follows suit?

shakebumpMe? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve guessed wrong and shook a fist bump. Or bumped a handshake. I’ve even done the classic ‘Wrap a Fist Bump in a Sandwich’ move where the person shoots out a fist to bump and I wrap my hand around it like a bun caresses a hot dog. I shook the fist up and down like a dog with a dirty pair of underwear that he found in the laundry basket. The person just stared at me a bit – and then went and washed his hands.

So what to do? I’m proposing that each and every one of us wear signs saying which method we prefer to use and then play BroHug/Hug/Fist Bump/Handshake/Slap5 every time we meet. You know that game:

Handshake Beats Fist Bump, Slap5
Fist Bump Beats Slap5, Hug, BroHug
Slap5 Beats Hug, BroHug
BroHug Beats Hug
Hug gets you thrown in the Hoosegow – or at least completely avoided at every party you go to (but that’s a subject for the next blog “My Worst Party Ever…”

That’s right – every meeting from that point forward would be a competition. But there would be no more guesswork about how to handle the meetings. Tattoo it on their forehead for all I care – at least I know that I won’t go in for a hug and get a fist bump to the stomach. At least I think that was the intent.

I’m still talking to my lawyers about that night.

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    Another great idea you have. You really must get going on these patents. I don’t like hand shaking. Such a perfect way to spread germs because we touch our faces so much during the day. Germ transfer is easier that way than from the back of the hand which is why I’d prefer fist-bumping. Unfortunately, not too many people in the professional world fist bump. Bummer. But no hugs for me. Definitely no hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe it’s because you’re a guy, but you left out the air kiss. How (and why) does one DO that? Do you actually make a kissy noise in the other person’s ear? Do you or do you not touch faces? One side or both sides? Where do you put your hands? Just how bad is it to actually touch the other person’s cheek with your lips? (Bad, I’m guessing, because I did that the first time someone swooped in on me and they spent the rest of the day hiding on the other side of the room.)

    Depending on circumstances, in business situations I like to start out where I plan to continue, so I move in first with a mandatory handshake. In social situations, the finger wave actually works very well. Hugs are strictly for goodbye.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. writerinsoul says:

    Got a freaky one for you. I did one day of volunteer work in a cooperative cafe last summer. Here I was flummoxed by the ELBOW bumping the workers did so as to keep their hands sanitized. It looked very odd and I felt quite foolish when I half-heartedly, and poorly returned one.


  4. Jeff says:

    Forearm bash is very late 80’s/early 90’s. Think a steroid-driven Jose Canseco and a pre-steroid-driven Mark McGwire. Ugh, is there going to be a blog about double-hyphens now?


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