It's not just the Republicans under the Gray Dome who are introducing silly bills. Let’s give a high-five to Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis, D-Berkeley, who wants to make that iconic slapping of hands the official greeting for Missouri.
This really does belong in the “you gotta be kidding” file.
I do not know why Mr. Curtis chose to pitch the high-five as the state's official greeting, instead of the fist pump, with or without the explosion. I don’t know whose vote he is trawling … maybe the 5-year-old liberal bloc?
I also wonder how Curtis encountered the high-five greeting movement. Is it centered in the St. Louis metro area? I assume the headquarters is close to Busch Stadium or the Edward Jones Dome.
Was the movement founded in a bar during a Saint Louis University basketball game, or was it during a Blues hockey game?
Of course, the likelihood that the bill Curtis has introduced, HB-1624, ever makes it to the House floor is nil. I can see the pro-handshake lobby up in arms over the idea.
Would the high-five have to be used during official functions and political campaigns? I know from past experience that shaking hundreds of hands during a campaign is tiring and hard on the fingers. Can you imagine the pain of high-fiving after 90 days of campaigning for political office?
I personally do prefer the handshake. Extending the right hand in greeting shows the other party that you have no weapon, thus are friendly.
A person with his hand raised could be perceived as a threat. I would default into defense mode, prepared to protect myself from an oncoming blow. I pity Mr. Curtis if he should meet a black belt who is a bit skittish.
How about a simple “Howdy” or “Hi?” “Howyadoin” is the standard in Brooklyn and New Jersey. The unofficial greeting in New York City is a simple, loud “Yo!”
Returning from a trip to New York, I find myself adopting the Long Island “Howjadoin,” dropping the "y" for a "j." But I tend to drop a lot of letters when I am tired or inebriated, revivng my standard “you-sound-like-Fran-Drescher” accent — without the laugh and spoken as a tenor, not a soprano.
Missouri has a basic problem with oral greetings.
It is the northern-most southern state, the western-most eastern state and the eastern-most western state. We have a hodgepodge of greetings.
But why are we bothering with this matter at all? For a legislature worried about pennies in an $8.3 billion budget (there is less than one-tenth of 1 percent difference between the governor’s budget and the House), I ask: Why are we wasting time and dollars? How about looking for money to fund education or highway repair instead?
I believe it is time to introduce a bill that would prevent future silly bills from being introduced: Bills that have nothing to do with the management of our state. Bills that attempt to negate federal law. Bills that want to establish an official state greeting.
If the state wishes to recognize something, let's recognize the men and women who really do serve this state and its future.
Let’s make teaching the official occupation of Missouri and give educators the raises they deserve.
Let's recognize police officers and firefighters. Let's pay tribute to those who serve the state as members of the National Guard. These are the men and women we need to recognize as the heroes they are. Maybe with a high-five.
David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. You can read more of his commentaries at InkandVoice.com and NewYorkJournalofBooks.com.