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Published On: Wed, Mar 18th, 2020

Handshake: A friend from the cradle

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By Adetunji Ayobrown

Dear Handshake,

For you, I will, even if no one does. Quakers spread handshake, coronavirus was spread by ….?
I knew how to exchange greetings through how you introduced me to my world. Since cradle, you have always been dependable. My friend since I was a little boy in a strange country, who knew nothing but your gesture which blended me into my environment. But until now, I never say no to you. Oh dear handshake, because of you, I accept kisses on the cheeks, even accept inappropriate hugging.
You are centuries old, universal, unisex, and until now, a safe way to pass the message of peace. A globally widespread brief greeting or parting tradition in which two people grasp one of each other’s hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up-and-down movement of the grasped hands. You are always between us.
Honouring equality, addressing each other as friends, they adopted the formal gesture of clasping hands as their greeting gesture. The Quakers in their 18th-century heyday were strict egalitarians and thus rejected the established gestures of deference, such as removing a hat and baring the head as a gesture of greeting. We should not give to man, they held, what pertains to God.
Many give credit to a bunch of religious radicals for introducing the handshake as we know it today. Until roughly 1700, shaking hands had a different meaning; a gesture not part of any greeting or departure behaviour.
It is a rule though, human greeting gestures are short-lived, even the handshake barely survived its launch sometimes. But many family and friends had forsaken each other because of you. Except you want to make yourself immortal. Though, many swear and even promised but cant kept you refused for too long. This might have happened to any of us.
Flattering you is beneath me, you taught me as I’m quick to learn the ways of men.
You have such persistence that wall down many resistances. Much as they are now, its meanings were mostly political or legal, a common way to seal a deal. It was a gesture that symbolised the ideals of peace and harmony cherished by all. You are both intense and generously handsome.
In pursuit of civility, many are still perplexed by the common French habit of shaking hands each morning. Constant dread that people one did not know might take advantage of too-easy familiarity.
More than a wave but far less than a hug, it is the primary way we meet people. You sometimes used to signify romantic relationships. What you meant is the same all over the world. You are the largest early platform connecting families, friends, lovers and more in a single stroke.
Until now, it is also a little tired, maybe overused and quite possibly meaningless. An incredibly embarrassing dream I thought I had. Even my family members are all forming attitudes against me. Because I refused you, many pay me back in like coin.
I’m too weak for your absence appetite, your friendship knows no bounds, you cut across race, colour and even nations. Our world without you seems meaningless.
Crippling lives, the creeping virus people catch these days is causing our enmity. Words may not be enough, but do you know how hard it is for me to distance myself from you?
You spread from the Quakers to other groups as a popular way to greet equals or friends. I don’t know who was the first coronavirus patient.
Slowly, frenzied as you spread in our world, coronavirus is rapidly causing chaos and also becoming deadly. Even after all agreed that it’s about time we retire you. Many still can’t do without you.
Some say the coronavirus is under control. Correction: It is not, to others. The edge of our hope, human must be drastic; we need brain to balance the brawl, failure of which the end of our time may be nearer than thought.
Handshake, you are now seen as a risky step in that direction.​
As no right tracks for what await you, COVID 19 seems more than active presently in human race. Sometimes, no matter how careful you may plan your playlist, there is no right track for what awaits you, corononavirus is real.
Human race is trying to give you a break now, don’t tell anyone I said that. Always tell the truth even when some think you shouldn’t is our slogan, I know you remember this.
Executive dodges Trump’s handshake, offers elbow instead, President Trump shakes hands with executives at his coronavirus press briefing, a gesture health experts advised against amid world coronavirus pandemic. Public health emergence alert, humans thought your change of scene might help. Claims said ‘It is no more dangerous than winter flu’.
The virus is easily transmitted and we must learn to distance ourselves socially from each another. On how coronavirus has affected people of all walks of life, opinions all over the world, governments may sugar coat coronavirus details, but the media should stand-up, for it is time to speak with one clear voice about this public health emergency. Covid-19 is about 10 times more deadly than seasonal flu, which is estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally. It spread weirdly, wildly and chaotically.
You lose everything and you win the war, you are a hero, dear friend, loosing you on the sacrificial altar now a must until the situation improves. War for the soul of our race, coronovirus became a daredevil that affects our very existence to its marrow.
There are moments in our lives when we found ourselves at a crossroad, the choice we make in those moments can define the rest of our days. Sometimes the correct path is the tortured ones. In your place, simply looking into a person’s eyes now suffices as a greeting. Life is like an old steam engine, you either go ahead or in reverse.
Truly, if you lose everything and you lose the war, you are just a fool. There is no way I can take it back but my plan is to show you and make you better understand.
Till the crisis ends, I may not have further communication of any kind with you.
I missed you in my head already.
Sincerely yours.

Adetunji Ayobrown is a Public Affairs Analyst.

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