Thursday, February 17, 2011

A handshake

I will confess, I prefer a hug to transfer true intent and emotion but the handshake will do in a pinch.

It's something we do every day without a second thought. We don't practice it (well, we may have when we were very young) and we don't count how many times a day we do it.

It's a great mentoring topic actually - when to shake, how to shake, what a shake means. Different cultures and circumstances make this seemingly innocuous act rife with potential to connect or confuse.

"A simple handshake. A ritual performed so often and with so little conscious thought as to be practically an instinctual reflex. Although the exact origin is difficult to pinpoint, there is a widespread belief that in its oldest form the handshake signified the handing of power from a god to an early Egyptian ruler. Centuries later, it was this magical aspect of the handshake that was so magnificently rendered on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. In Medieval times, it might mean anything from a friendly greeting to a quick check for concealed weapons. In the twenty-first century, the handshake had evolved into an important social custom, a symbol of honor and good faith, it "sealed the deal." But could it be magic? What exactly was exchanged in that special moment of pure personal interaction - a little sweat, some exfoliated skin cells, a warm fuzzy feeling. What else?"
Ken Altabef - excerpt from "Pleased to Meetcha" published in Fantasy & Science Fiction Aug. 2006

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