Keep Your Hands Clean [Daily Game]

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I don’t know who started it, but years ago there was an NBA basketball team whose players created a new way to high-five each other: They used the backs of their hands.

Apparently one (or more) of the players was a huge germaphobe, and didn’t like touching people’s possibly probably dirty hands. The player had enough influence that the practice spread through the team, and soon everyone was doing it.

It makes sense. I mean, none of us ever knows what other people are doing with their hands before we meet them and perform this customary greeting. And, when you think about what we do with our hands — touch our food, rub our eyes — maybe it makes sense to not touch anyone else’s hands (at least when we can control it).

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I did not grow up a big germ freak, but Anna is one herself and some of her cleanliness “OCD”-ness has seeped into me. Now, any time I shake someone’s hand I can “feel” the uncleanliness of my right hand until I get to wash it.

There’s a maintenance guy who works at the building in which I live. He’s a young guy, maybe late 20s, and friendly. He always has a smile and hello for me every time I see him.

Sometimes he even offers a handshake.

This maintenance guy walks around cleaning stuff — sweeping floors, scrubbing the BBQ grills at the pool. Every time I see him he’s pushing a trash can. I guess it doesn’t occur to him that his hands are probably not sterile. He means no malice; he’s just friendly. But damned if I can’t feel the germs when I shake his hand.

I saw him today. He said hi, but didn’t try to shake my hand. Thank God.

While I still use the handshake when greeting people I’m meeting for the first time, and for close friends, I’ve got an innovative technique to help combat handshaking uncertainty with men I already know as acquaintances: The fist bump.

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