Friday, December 31, 2010


Very early on, my dad taught us how important it was to have a firm handshake. Don't shake hands like that -- your hand feels like a dead fish (he would say with the sure knowledge of a seasoned fisherman!) Don't you know that your character is revealed in your handshake?

In order to avoid the possibility of our hand getting hurt during the ever so firm clasp of hands, Dad taught us to place our hand all the way in as we clasped our 'opponent's' hand (or so it seemed to us) so that the other guy couldn't crush our fingers! Fast forward a half century. It was 2005, my dad was 93 years old, and a regular at the Newton Marriott where he and his buddies (92 year old Norman Krim and 68 year old Neil Smith) would meet weekly for lunch. One Wednesday, a young waiter complained that the tip Dad had given him the week before was smaller than it should have been, that my dad owed him another dollar. Okay, said my dad, as he took a dollar from his wallet and gave it to the waiter. Dad held his now empty right hand out to shake with the waiter's. The waiter responded in kind (only after pocketing his newly acquired dollar). What the waiter didn't know was that Dad had spent his life tightening the world around him with a pair of pliers and that dad's grip was as deadly as those pliers could be --- and so, soon the waiter was (literally) on the floor begging for mercy -- it was not a wrestling hold but worse . . . it was my dad shaking hands with someone who didn't know enough to put his hand all the way into the hand opposite him in order to avoid being crushed!


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