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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

HANDS OFF

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Being conservative Congress is of course sentimental. Its love for the old order of things--a handshaking. Executive--found expression in Senator Heflin's "Oh, Mr. President!" But being old-fashioned and sentimental it is some what unscientific.

There was a time in the rude past when the cheering stranger extended his right hand to show that it concealed no treacherous dirk. The skeptic seized it to make sure. Like the doffing of helmets, this medieval precautionary measure has persisted to an age when it is usually unnecessary; the deliberate murderer nowadays shoots with his left hand quite as skilfully as with his right. And with the advance of medical science has come the knowledge that this apparently harmless custom is a dangerous spreader of disease germs. President Coolidge is doubtless acting for the health of the nation in refusing to tolerate an unsanitary practice.

It may be questioned furthermore whether visitors come to greet the man or the office. Chief Justice Taft has probably suffered little from the handshaker's cramp since he left the White House. Yet some memorial of the President would be cherished forever. Such cards as are distributed on Pike's Peak testifying to the traveller's actual presence on the summit might be distributed in Heu of the traditional handshake. An office boy could thus dispose of a task which has become too burdensome for the first man of the land.

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