Bowing for health
Citizens of the world stand in fear waiting to see how far and how wide the H1N1 virus will spread, and whether or not it will reach pandemic levels of infection.
Some believe that we could vastly improve the health of our citizenry and the citizenry of the world, and save billions of dollars in costs associated with colds, flu and other illnesses if we, as Americans, would adopt the practice of bowing when greeting one another, rather than shaking hands.
Millions of people at any given time are infected with various viruses, the symptoms of which are often concealed by the use of the vast array of medications available, which allow sick people to continue working, rather than stay home in bed where they are less likely to infect others.
The biggest problem people face when avoiding shaking hands with friends, new acquaintances, and business associates is the immediate feeling of disrespect. Many feel it's un-American not to shake hands and that there must be some underlying problem! When approached with an outstretched hand, some now prefer to stand back a step and bow with their hands behind their back, or bow with their palms touching and their hands against the heart, as do the Hindus and many Asians.
As mentioned, many people encountered with a bow and their offer for a handshake disdained, will feel a certain degree of offense, for in this country, refusal to shake hands is a sign of disrespect up to and including malice and even hatred.
Some friends may even try to insist that you shake hands with them, in spite of your attempts at explaining why you prefer to bow in the spirit of good health.
After each explanation, friends or associates will begin to accept a polite bow and bow in return. Some will even express gratitude when you explain how human hands are significant disease carriers due to natural, unconscious human mannerisms, such as sneezing against the back of one's hand, coughing into the palm of your hand, or rubbing itching or watery eyes and nose.
It is believed that if enough prominent Americans, including celebrities and politicians, would begin to politely bow in public and before the media rather than shake hands, that many, if not the vast majority of Americans, and hopefully the rest of the world, would abandon the unhealthy practice of shaking hands in favor of the polite "bow for health."