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He gives it to us straight.

Aggressively sought today by a fellow worshiper two pews ahead of me for what was sure to be an aggressive handclasp, I held back.

It didn’t matter. My fellow worshiper was not to be denied. I knew I had to act and act fast, or all was lost. Come up with something or be crushed by this enthusiast. In a flash it came to me, and I said it, holding up the threatened limb: “Bad hand.”

Without a blink, wink, or nod, like a quarterback deciding to run, he reached across the aisle to make the flesh-pressing contact he desperately needed.

A friend once suggested that a person might claim leprosy and thus fend off such a handshaker. Never tried that, but now I have a better way. Keep it simple. Say “bad hand.”

See also What’s the Deal with the Sign of Peace? for more on same topic.

As illustrated:

This ancient tradition dates back to the 2nd century writings of Justin Martyr, which was then symbolized with a kiss. However, it fell into disuse until Vatican II when it was revived as an optional practice.

Key word here: optional. It should not become a free-for-all meet-and-greet, and no one should feel pressured to participate.

Word to the wise . . .