Keep Your Hands to Yourself

Throughout my childhood, I probably heard this phrase more often than any other.  I was a very “hands-on” child.  If there was a switch I would flip it.  A button had to be pushed.  Levers needed to be… levered?  EVERYTHING needed to be touched.  So.. “Keep your hands to yourself” was bandied about by my parents with reckless abandon.  In their defense, I have a short attention span, so repetition gives you the best chance of getting something through to me.

That being said, I managed to make it to adulthood without breaking anything irreplaceable (that I’m aware of), or experiencing any sexual harassment lawsuits.  I also haven’t accidentally launched any nuclear missiles, although I have launched rockets.  I have accidentally turned off the power to things for which power was important.  C’est la vie, right?

The only thing I heard more often than “Keep your hands to yourself” (KYHTY) was in the same vein.  “Put your hands in your pockets” (PYHIYP).  Although usually it went like this…

hands in pockets

*I reach out to touch something.*

Parents: “Keep your hands to yourself!”

Me: “Okay.”

Parents: “Put your hands in your pockets.”

Me:  ——————————————————————————->

Also, that’s not me.  That’s just a random internet person I found. You know, just because full disclosure and all.

Anyway, the reason I was thinking about this was because for 20 solid years I heard this CONSTANTLY.  Keep your hands to yourself.  Put your hands in your pockets.  Keep your hands to yourself.  Put your hands in your pockets.  Keep your hands to yourself.  Put your hands in your pockets.  Over. And over. And over. Again.

Now PLEASE don’t think I’m knocking my parents.  I NEEDED this level of repetition if this action was something you wanted to program me to do.  And most importantly, IT WORKED.  I mostly kept my hands in my pockets, and over the years pushed fewer things.  If I remember my psychology at all, this was classical conditioning at its finest.

However… sometime around age 20 I was working in my Dad’s print shop helping customers.  Standing there, hands in pockets, talking to a customer, I felt a tap on my shoulder.  OH NO!  THE BIG BOSS (aka Dad).  He said, “Take your hands out of your pockets while talking to customers.  It’s unprofessional.”

What the heck?  Do what? After 20 years of being told to stuff ’em in my pockets, all of the sudden, NOW, with no prior warning, I’m supposed to take them out again?  WHAT IF I PUSH SOMETHING?  Nope.  Apparently that’s not a concern anymore. Life is weird.  When I commented on the rule change to my father there was a brief moment when I could see the gears spinning and then he started laughing.  Good times.

So anyway, I learned a couple of things that day.  1) Consistency is apparently a secondary consideration in parenting, and 2) I keep my hands in my pockets everywhere except at work, because it’s unprofessional.

Anyway, I’m still fairly curious about that will happen if I touch this or that, and for the most part am able to resist the urge (thanks Mom and Dad!).  I do occasionally touch the thing, but they also taught me to take responsibility for my actions (thanks again!) so you know.  Karma evens out I guess?

God only knows what they would have done if I’d been a girl.  How do you all deal with pants that have no pockets?  Or even worse, fake pockets?  What sick individual came up with that idea?  Someone who hates people, that’s for sure.


Welp, my work here is done.  As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome!

Living the dream,

Humble Dave