>I know the title of this post may come as a surprise to many of you, but it’s true. I think I’m actually pretty friggin’ cool, of course, and most days my kid would probably vouch for that (at least when I am in ear shot). Every now and then I’ll do something ridiculous that in retrospect I think to myself I probably crossed some line of coolness (I mean, would The Fonz do something like this?), but what the hell.
It’s never more apparent to me how behind I am than when I am a spectator at rock shows. Local rocks shows, in particular. Local rock shows where I meet people who know me. Other musicians, to be specific. The problem is that I don’t know fuck-all about the special handshakes.
Tonight I went down to The Other Side to show some support to my friends in BLESSIDDOOM. They were playing in the opening round of this year’s Pabst Blue Ribbon Band of the Year contest (more on this in a later post, trust me), and I went down to catch their set and vote for them. A lot of other guys from local metal bands that we cross paths with in the Magnificent LAZERWOLFS were there, and so copious greetings and f-bombs were being tossed about. Every guy who came up to me had a different combination of ways to shake my hand, though, and I was dumbfounded. I don’t get that, because I don’t ever know which grip comes next. It’s worse than trying to pick up a new riff at band practice — if Jimmy is showing me something, I’m watching his hands to see what comes next and it feels all awkward because I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m a nanosecond behind. But at least with a riff he can say, “Well, it’s in dropped-d and we go to the F, to the G, then the root and back to G, kinda like all our other songs,” and I can follow that a little. With the handshake, I don’t know what is coming next. Will it be fist-to-fist, or like an open slap with a slide across the palm, or, even worse, when guys make the devil horns thing and you are supposed to somehow lock your fingers together like that. I’m telling you, it stresses me out.
Frankly, I’d rather just hug the other guy, if a simple handshake won’t do. Then again, I’d hate to come across as some kinky Bearfighter guy, though.
Best case is to use the same philosophy with greetings that we use with our music: Keep it Simple, Stupid. The other night Jimmy and I met with Bob Wire at the Missoula Club for a few beers and rock talk, and that greeting was just the simple dry, firm clasp that has served humankind for as long as any of us remember. No awkward fumbling around, no embarrassment. I prefer that.