MOORHEAD — Minnesota will return to some semblance of normalcy over the next couple of months. Gov. Tim Walz last week began lifting some COVID restrictions, with more to come by the end of the month. By July 1, the state's mask mandate will end. It could end sooner if enough anti-vaxx blockheads get vaccinated.

Thank goodness. It's been a long 14 months. Nearly 600,000 Americans have died from the virus, thousands have lost their jobs, businesses have been decimated. And Republicans have whined non-stop about every effort to slow COVID's spread.

By the fall, we can hope everything will be just like it was in the Before Times.

Well, almost everything.

Can Zoom meetings (or just meetings in general) go away?

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And can handshakes not come back?

One of the few positives of the pandemic has been the relegation of the handshake to the trash heap. Now let's toss it on the trash heap of history.

And, no, we don't have to replace it with a fist bump or elbow touch or toe tap. We can just say "hello" and call it good?

But the return of the handshake? No, thanks.

Follow the science, the saying goes, and the science behind handshakes is simple: They are gross.

God knows where those hands have been, and She probably doesn't want you to know.

If you've ever noticed the number of people using public restrooms who don't wash their hands before re-entering society, you know what we're talking about.

How about those who sneeze into their hands and then offer one for a shake?

Handshakes are one of those macho American things, giving alpha males the chance to firmly squeeze another man's hand to prove they're alpha males. They also force panicking males to quickly decide whether a handshake is an appropriate greeting for a female to whom they've just met.

That awkwardness alone is enough to ban handshakes forever.

But it's really about the germs.

And, no, I'm not a germaphobe. Yes, I realize door handles and keyboards and handrails carry their share of creepy-crawlies. Handshakes, though, are a special level of what-have-I-just-touched?

No less an authority than Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease expert, agrees.

"I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again," he said in May 2020. "We've got to break that custom. Because as a matter of fact, that is really one of the major ways that you can transmit a respiratory illness."

That won't be enough to convince the manly men who put their trust in Trump instead of medical science and vaccines. There is a significant portion of the population who won't believe something they can't see.

For the rest of us, though, we can see where those hands are going and can guess where they've been. So don't be offended if post-pandemic you stick out your hand and you're met with a head nod and a smile instead of a hearty handshake. Nothing personal.

It's just that some of us don't want to shake your hand after you just blew your nose.

Gross, right? Exactly.