DEWAYNE'S WORLD - Please lady, that hand is taken

DeWayne Bartels

I have a soft spot for Teddy Bears, because I have a big soft spot for my granddaughter, Michelle, 4.

One Christmas, unsure what to get a toddler, grandpa got her a Teddy Bear. She loved it.

Ever since Michelle gets a Teddy Bear from grandpa for birthdays and Christmas.

She has many Teddy Bears. But, only grandpa’s Teddy Bears get to reside on Michelle’s bed. The rest she has thrown in a pile on the floor, including some grandma got her. As a grandpa, I love that.

The thing is that there are only-so-many varieties of Teddy Bears, or so I thought.

I was kind of concerned about coming up with a unique bear this Christmas.  You have to get the right Teddy Bear when you are on a mission for a 4-year-old.

I found out there is a new wrinkle in the Teddy Bear game, and I ventured to Northwoods Mall to find a place called Build A Bear.

But, before I could get there, I was stopped by a bold young woman who grabbed my right hand. 

Did she caress my hand?


Did she marvel at how my fingers are double-jointed?

No, again.

She looked me in the eye and said, “Did you wash your hands today?”

I wondered if she planned to lick them.

I almost asked, after all, I didn’t ask her to grab my hand.  I was really beginning to wonder what was up.

Before I could answer she asked me to cup my hands and she put something that looked like coarse salt in my hands.

“Rub them together,” she said.

“Doesn’t that feel good?”

It felt like wet salt.

And, it turns out that’s what it was — sea salt from the Dead Sea in Israel. After rubbing the salt all over my hands she rinsed it off.

I dried my hands and then she showed me the water in the bowl.

It had a brown shade to it.

“That’s dirt,” she said.

I guess it’s a good thing she didn’t lick my hands.

There we stood on the upper level of the mall her holding my hand again.

I didn’t even know her name, and hoped no one who knew my name was around. How would this look?

Before I could worry about who might see me or feel bad about the dirt on my hands she moved to my cuticles.

She ran her fingertips over my cuticles and fingernails.

She got a look on her face.

“Feel your cuticles and fingernails,” she said.

“Your cuticles are rough and cracked from the cold weather,” she said.

“Don’t you moisturize?”

I’m thinking, “I can’t even wash my hands right and you ask if I moisturize.”

Before I can respond she starts on my fingernails and how bumpy they are.

Now, she’s starting to bug me.

I’ve been there 90 seconds and she can’t stop finding faults with me. 

She grabs a four sided brush and begins buffing one cuticle and fingernail. When she gets to the fourth side she tells me it is the “Magic side.”


She pulls away the brush and the cuticle looks refined. The fingernail shines likes a polished stone.


“To achieve this look for you or your wife for a year it will cost only $80,” she tells me.

I can’t recall the last time I looked at my cuticles or fingernails and cringed.

And, the only time I pay attention to my wife’s fingernails is when she’s about to whack me up side my head.

Before she tried to give me a sponge bath or a pedicure right there in the middle of the mall I hightailed it away from her.

The things guys have to go through to shop for the women in their life.  

I made my way to Build A Bear. The clerk there looked so bored he barely acknowledged I was alive. After what I had just been through, that was nice.

Michelle better really like this Teddy Bear. Grandpa went through a lot to get it.