Friday, February 1, 2013

A Strong Handshake

A funny little story about Chris…
I can’t remember exactly when it happened, but a while ago, maybe two years or so, I was having a conversation with a friend when Chris was present.  We were talking about shaking hands. 
Chris wasn’t even really in on the chat, he just happened to be in the room.  The discussion was about our pet peeve of a soggy handshake.  I can’t stand a floppy-wristed, weak handshake.  That wet noodle, lifeless wiggle is horrible.   I want a little firmness when extending my hand and taking one in mine.  My friend was in agreement.  We were laughing at our displeasure of handshakes like that.
We went on and on for a few minutes as to why people don’t pay attention to the importance of shaking someone’s hand with purpose and attention.  Little did we know Chris was soaking all this in.  Just ask anyone who shook his hand in recent years… We created a monster!!
I guess Chris took to heart what we said because his handshake could bring a man to his knees.  My brother Paul has mentioned it out loud several times as have others.  Some dreaded the initial greeting with him due to his vice grip!  (It made me smile).
Chris could turn it on and off, he was much gentler with women, children or the elderly of course but he got the biggest kick out of squeezing with all his might with certain men.  He did it on purpose all the while a smile on his face, knowing full well he was cutting off the circulation in the poor persons hand…

My friend took the brunt of it… He came to dread extending his hand to Chris, it took ages until the blood came back and he could use his fingers once again.  Chris enjoyed making my friend’s knuckles pop!  Oh that Chris!!
I’m glad he was listening!  It came to be a very important part of who he was.  Everyone knew his grip.  He shook hands with meaning.  He would look the person in the eye with a smile and a genuine hello.  Many times his handshake was paired with the half hug pat that men do.  He enjoyed people and loved company.
I never endured his man-paw grip.  He was gentle with me thankfully.  It didn’t stop me from having a private giggle when I watched him greet other people though.  It cracked me up to watch their expression as the color faded from their face.  Very comical.
I remember soon after Chris started dating, I had a brief talk with him about being gentle with Bailey.  I reminded him he was so solid and powerful he may not realize the strength of his hugs.  I told him girls are very tender and to be careful with her.  I thought he might be too strong for her small frame and that he would need to be aware of it and tone it down. (He didn’t need that conversation, he adored her!)  But I spoke from experience; hey I lived with him… 
There were many times we’d be in the same room at the same time and he’d bump into me and have no idea we even touched. Meanwhile I’d have been thrown off balance only to steady myself again!  When I brought it to his attention he’d shrug and admit he didn’t realize.  He didn’t pay attention to things like that.:-)  It was part of his cuteness.  My “lumpy”.  Such a knucklehead and so lovable.
OK, but there was this one time I can remember that might not have been so funny… and it was certainly not appreciated by the recipient – but the memory is priceless and Chris would laugh out loud when he repeated the story…
Confirmation at St. Mary’s when Chris was a junior – First night of prep classes, he extended his hand with gusto and laid into the poor priest who immediately yelped and yelled at him.  Oops.  You can bet the priest never forgot him and never again shook his hand.  Hey, he made an impression at least!  Bet the priest couldn’t wait to confirm him and get his out of there.
Do me a favor (should we meet), don’t give me a limp handshake.  Don’t crush me either though!  Just give me a firm wrist so your hand isn’t flopping around!  Matter of fact; don’t give anyone a weak handshake.  Greetings are meaningful; they’re part of the first impression.  Handshakes are a primary form of hello.  Make them count without physically hurting the recipient!  Smile at Christopher’s humorous side but let’s leave the hand crushing to him.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Regina,

    Reading your blog today put a much needed smile on my face. I too feel the same way about handshakes that you do. I have told my daughter that a firm hand shake is the only way to shake a hand, not those limp just grab fingers floppy handshakes. She is very aware of that and I know she does have a firm handshake. Funny to watch her give one and then come up to me later and say wow that person did not have a firm handshake, it was limp. Funny that people don't even realize that first greeting along with a smile. Hope you have a great day.

  2. Regina this made me laugh! My boyfriend Jake reminds me so much of your son :) He always expresses the importance of a strong handshake with others. I love his hugs as well but have had to tell him to tone them down...they don't realize their own strength sometimes! Thanks for making my day with this post & being able to laugh about it <3

  3. I hope to be blessed to shake your hand some day! You've come to be an important part of my daily life.

  4. Hi Regina,
    I couldn't agree more about limp handshakes.. Yuck!
    I also hope I get the chance to shake your hand some day.. To say hello and also to thank you for your spirit and inspiration..
    Have a great day...

  5. Did you know there are quotes about handshakes? Yes, google it. Quotes about handshakes. The two that I liked that fell into sync with your blog are:

    “That is very important. The weak, horrible, wet fish handshake is a problem. That gives a lot away.” by Diana Mather

    And the one I really like because it describes your last sentence so perfectly:
    “I can feel the twinkle of his eye in his handshake.” by Helen Keller

    My pet peev about handshakes are those people that give you the top portion of their hand, because extending their entire hand is too much of an effort. It's the strangest thing and stops me in my tracks...

    Handshakes say so much about a person and your Christopher left an impression I'm sure on so many with his firm football hand grip!

    Mental note made, so if I ever meet you, a firm but genuine handshake is in order!

    God bless...

  6. Regina,

    I read this early this morning and laughed right out loud. Reminded me of the lesson my mom taught her 5 daughters. She said "Do not shake a persons hand like you are helpless, show confidence in your grip". She said the one thing she hated was shaking hands with a person who did not have a grip and she would make this squirmish eeeeewww face to emphasize her displeasure. Hahahaha...She is 84 and she has become fragile in her age, yet if you shake her hand the grip remains firm and confident!

    Thanks for sharing this post, you brought out the humor...

    I hope you had a great time last night I thought about you and your family all night!!!

    God Bless,XO

  7. How smart he is! He took your pet peeve and found a way he could have a fun with it and at the same time learned a great lesson!

  8. Made me smile. My younger brother is just starting to want to crush people too (: I'll have to tell him it's not really okay. He seems to think it's a game!

    I hope the football banquet was amazing. You were in my thoughts and prayers and continue to be.


  9. Hi Regina,

    Your blog made me smile. Nothing worse than a wet, wimpy handshake!

    I agree with Ann on shaking your hand. You're a part of my day as well.

    Hope the banquet was awesome.

    Peace and hugs.