A new day, a new way to say hello

Published 5:27 pm Thursday, March 19, 2020

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By Dr. Richard Ingram
Doctor at LaGrange Internal Medicine

We can’t shake hands anymore. The elbow bump is downright dangerous. Some elbows are sharp as a shard; given the occasion, they could carve the Thanksgiving turkey.

And let’s face it, the elbow’s geographic proximity to the bend in the elbow where it is now legally mandated you sneeze is none too comforting. That elbow bend is a cesspool of sin, and don’t tell me those microbial miscreants don’t stroll around to the backside of the bend just waiting on the chance to leap onto another elbow.

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The toe tap is invitation to an orthopedic consult. Even if your sense of balance is not at risk, some people get overly exuberant and put so much momentum into the forward thrust of the foreleg, as though fly-casting for bull trout, that your own bone integrity is in jeopardy.

Don’t get me started on the chest thump. Football players don’t wear protective gear to keep them safe on the line; it’s to protect them from the chest thump in the end zone.

None of them work for me, not the elbow bump, the toe tap, or the chest thump.

Here is what does: the Two Tap Heart Thump.

It’s simple and everybody can do it.

Take the second and third fingers, give them a “C” shape curl, tap over the heart twice, then straighten them out and point them toward the person for whom the greeting and handshake is intended. The Two Tap Heart Thump.

It’s also as much as saying, “You watch out for me, and I’ll watch out for you.”

Technique can be creative. For example, if meeting up with someone you have not seen in a while, put authority into the gesture.

Curl the fingers, but keep the wrist straight, tap the heart with gusto, and then straighten the arm full length and the two fingers out firm with flourish.

On the other hand, there is the understated display.

The wrist rests on the chest and flexed just so much as to tap the heart, then aim the two fingers with reserve.

This is particularly winsome when wearing a derby and sporting a silver knobbed cane.

This is a ground up effort at initiating and sustaining a meaningful, dignified way to greet.

It can be done at a distance. No more leaning over the pew to thrust an elbow. It’s unobtrusive, and it works with facetime, too.

After the Two Tap Heart Thump, it’s best to interlock the fingers, palms up and allow them to float at the waist. This makes it very awkward to reach up to touch mouth, nose or eyes.

It, too, is a gesture that says, “It’s about community; you watch out for me and I’ll watch out for you.”New day. New measures. The new hello: Two Tap Heart Thump.