Help: Do I got Hand-on-shoulder Disease?

      Approaching two guys on the sidewalk, I hear one of ’em tell the other: “Hide!”
I quickly scan the scene for anything threatening, and finding nada asked the one who hadn’t fled the area: “A cow’s outside?”
He kept his distance while he dryly answered: “Nah, who’s afraid of a cow? It’s you we gotta watch out for.” and kept walking.
Made me feel real shitty for a hundred yards or so. ‘What have I done? Oh, that?’ I remembered too late having met the fellow. He was working in some auto-parts store, and when his advice saved me mega-shekels fixing my Fiesta’s steering, I’d thanked him… and briefly put my hand on his shoulder, for emphasis. A total stranger. Is this normal?

“Am I normal?” I’ve been asking myself for a couple years now. I seem to be putting
hand-on-shoulder of just about anyone, of any age, gender, or status who’ll hold still long
enough lately. I don’t know, it always seems like the right thing to do. I do have rules, of
Women wearing wigs? No way.
Folks I despise? No chance.
Little barely pubescent girls with budding breasts just showing through their Scout uniform? Hardly.

That still leaves millions of shoulders in this naked city and I seem to be on a campaign to
collect ’em all.
A rule worth pointing out is that I only ever ‘do it’ (see, sounds gross, huh?) in connection
with a compliment of some sort. But admittedly, sometimes I search pretty hard for an accompanying nice thing to say. The hand wags the dog, so to speak.

“This probably involves yer Mom.” suggests the pre-occupied shrink.
“Yeah, probably…” I reply. and turn away. No hand for this guy.
But does he have a point? What kind of pathetic parenting during childhood could’ve created such a late-onset touchy-feely monster 50 years later?
Well, it turns out that the auto-parts guys was just being funny. Something about fearing me
motoring down the sidewalk, even on foot, with my front feet disconnected from the steering
wheel, which was the case when we’d briefly met.
But damn, I sure am paranoid. I truly wonder how many folks have silently wondered: “What’s this dude’s thing with contact?”
I can quit anytime I want, I tell myself. Keep my hands clasped behind my back, for example. But I’m sure then they’d talk about that.
‘So doctor, what’s a guy to do? And what are those handcuffs for?’

Wu: File under ‘Should? Shoulder? Shouldest?
Me: Yeah, now that you mention it. You a smart cookie, Wu
Wu: Thanks, just keep your hands in your pockets.


16 thoughts on “Help: Do I got Hand-on-shoulder Disease?

  1. jsolberg

    @ItsWhatEyeKnow – Exactly. I feel ‘endearing’ (thanks for the perfect word) but hey, who knows? Creepy Aunt Bertha probably felt just peachy. Now *there’s* an insidious cow’s outside, ha.So nice to see you here, Lena. You’d get, (with your permission of course) two warm shoulders:)

  2. HappierHeathen

    I find it best to avoid those dangerous questions like “Am I normal?”. Especially that one in particular. Being a relative term, normal depends upon which wing of the asylum you’re living in.I’m generally creeped out by random strangers and mere acquaintances who pierce my bubble, but I may very well be and sincerely hope that I am abnormal.

  3. jsolberg

    @HappierHeathen – I worked in asylums for a year and a half straight. Replaced the windows, one room with a skewed view at a time and met a new ‘there but for fortune’ case every day. I’m curious here about my place on the ‘appropriate affect’ scale, genuinely curious and nothing more. I may try to constrain myself, but all the while convinced that half my successful job bids here are due to my bonding skills. Thanks for the input from your particular bubble, guy

  4. jsolberg

    @elgan – Oy, I *knew* I should have run it by you first. And all this is because of a 10th grade girlfriend from Philly. I remember thinking “You people actually hug each other?”

  5. sleekpeek

    Every time you do one of these types of posts I run down the gamut of words, like would, could, bould … (well, maybe only 3 and not a gamut?). You drive me crazy! Anyway, I wouldn’t mind if you touched my shoulder if you could get past my once-a-year Halloween wig wearing phase. 🙂

  6. jsolberg

    @sleekpeek – Sweet of U. yes, the Dam was originally planned to be somewhat modest, but politics of the day prevailed, hence a ‘Boulder’ Dam.You get a quick kiss, automatic, but if you’ll wear a Pocahontas wig then baby, let’s talk:)

  7. seedsower

    “No hand for this guy.” …ha, served him right.I like your hands and think a shoulder is a fine place for them ….unless you are with me… then I wanna hold your hand.

  8. jsolberg

    @seedsower – The feeling’s mutual, dear. I only even had one person (out of, say, a thousand) who jumped back in shocked disgust, as if french-kissed by a leper. An eccentric British old maid; I chanced to relate the incident later, to her shrink, who understood perfectly but wasn’t allowed to fill in the gory explanatory details.Like cats, as I wrote in our e-mail; Ya gotta know which ones you can genoch.

  9. Roadkill_Spatula

    There’s a priceless photo of the outcome of GWBush giving Frau Merkel a shoulder-rub. Perhaps if you post it you will remember to think twice: videos galore: would imagine Israel is a very risky place for spontaneous physical contact, what with the various religious groups with concerns about ritual cleanliness, the left hand, etc., not to mention the multicultural nature of the population.

  10. jsolberg

    @Roadkill_Spatula – Quick, before I relish the photo: Actually overall, this is a perfect place for me and my affliction. Most of the melting-pot cultures are more effusive and contact-y than I was raised, by a mile. Where else do you go to the lumberyard and the owner kisses you on each cheek? I just finished a shrink’s office, a guy I have nothing but compliments for, thus he’s aware of the phenomenon and said I’z cool, for now.

  11. Roadkill_Spatula

    Hmm, good point. The Middle Easterners in my office are much more effusive than the Asians or even the Latin Americans. I can imagine you might have the most issues on your rare trips back to the USA. But I remember a female friend talking about thoughtlessly tapping on a Hasid’s shoulder on a bus in Jerusalem. He was unhappy.


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