Some days during the pandemic I felt like Ally Sheedy’s character, Allison Reynolds, in The Breakfast Club. I buried my head, refused to talk, and felt scared and skittish.
Yet there were days during quarantine when I felt like a totally different John Hughes’ character, Ferris Bueller. I looked for small sources of joy in my daily life at home, even if I couldn’t make staying at home an epic adventure like Ferris would.
When I heard that we couldn’t shake hands anymore as a way to greet each other, I felt a little bit like both characters. There was despair, like Allison Reynolds would feel, but then, there was inspiration ala Ferris.
That’s because I realized there are plenty of touch-free ways we could greet each other, all inspired by my Generation X upbringing. And the prospect of sharing these ways has brought me a smidgen of happiness.
Many of you had similar Generation X upbringings, the kind with limited parental supervision and unlimited reruns. This endless time alone, surrounded by nothing but imagination and pop culture, inspired me to collate 20 gestures and body movements from my younger days. These Generation X salutations could be the solution we need during this era of social distancing to greet each other with love–and without touching.
- Wax on, wax off just like Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid
- Wrinkle your nose as if you’re Samantha Stevens in Bewitched
- Be like Fonzie and stick your thumbs up and say, “Aaay!”
- Make the heavy metal hand horn like you’re still at a Bon Jovi concert
- Say “How you doin’?” in your best Joey Tribbiani voice
- Point a disco finger to the sky ala John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever
- Or point finger guns like you’re David Hasselhoff in a Night Rider poster
- Walk like an Egyptian
- Say “Dynomite!” ala J.J. from Good Times
- Do the fade-to-dream sequence as if you’re Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World
- Tug on your ear as if you’re Carol Burnett doing a monologue
- Play air guitar like Bill and Ted
- Say “Yabba dabba doo!”
- Make snaps up in a Z-formation ala Living Color
- Cross your arms, nod, and blink as if you’re Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie. For extra fun, start wearing harem pants, too.
- Speaking of harem pants, break into the Hammer dance while singing “U Can’t Touch This”
- Do Chuck Woolery’s famous “Two and two” from Love Connection
- Finally, channel your inner Tawny Kitaen and dance like you’re on the hood of that car in the Whitesnake video.
My fellow Gen Xers, we survived the Cold War, the Challenger disaster, and 9/11.
We also lived through the cancellation of Joanie Loves Chachi, the fall from grace of Pee Wee Herman, and that whole Milli Vanilli debacle.
We’ll get through this pandemic with love, a little bit of laughter, and a lot of social distancing.
Plus, think how amazing it will be to acknowledge each other with these totally tubular Generation X-inspired greetings and teach them to our kids.
I think Ferris would be proud.