Dead Fish Handshakes
Where do they come from? Serial killers Robert Pickton and Ted Bundy are purported to have had them, and I’m afraid that I have one as well if I don’t shoot up psychologically in advance.
Basically I think it’s because the handshake is just so absurd, and the less allied among us with humanity are more resistant to that absurdity. You’re saying, if what we’re about to do makes any sense at all, that you want us both to demonstrate that we’re not carrying weapons, that it’s never occurred to anyone that a person could be left-handed or switch to their left situationally if it conferred to them an advantage, and that we’re supposed to show that we mean each other no harm by placing ourselves mutually in the starting position for a nifty judo move? The more absurd the better from the standpoint of society, which historically would also have us wear the silliest hats imaginable, through which we could prove our commitment to being a part of a group by showing that we would do anything, and I do mean anything, in order to be accepted as members.
Fake it till you make it, or lie until you believe it, is the principle involved by which handshakes begin to feel natural, for everyone feels weird about them when they’re starting out. Those who ally with the power to be found in numbers will willingly pass through ‘fake it’ to reach the other side, but like Kasparov against The World in a fair fight game of chess, I have personally always felt that my Truth against their numbers was a mismatch in my favor, so my distastes for absurdity and dishonesty have generally been enough to at least dampen the enthusiasm of my right arm and hand.
Pickton and Bundy met their vigorous squeezers and shakers as suspected or known extreme adversaries on opposite sides of the law. Bundy’s match in particular revealingly admitted that he didn’t want to shake Ted’s hand but felt he had to do it. He faked it, and made it, like a real man, lying like a rug through his fingers. Ted didn’t want to shake the cop’s hand either, but guess what– he didn’t. All he did was dangle his right arm out there, like a dead fish.
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