Monday, January 31, 2011

Henry’s repeated gesture

[Henry, January 13, 14, and 15, 2011.]

I like Don Trachte’s Henry (now in reruns) for its clarity of line, reminiscent of Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy. I am unclear though about the gesture in the panels above. It’s one that Henry performs frequently. It means something like “Well, that’s that.” But what to call it? It’s not washing one’s hands of the matter, which would mean abandoning responsibility. I’d call it dusting off one’s hands. But to say “I dusted off my hands” would hardly suggest the gesture’s meaning. Is there, reader, a better name for this gesture? I would ask Henry, but he’s not talking.

Used wisely (i.e., sparingly, perhaps once a day), this little gesture makes an amusing, dowdy addition to everyday life. It is cheaper and quieter than a Staples Easy Button and uses no batteries.

A related post
Betty Boop with Henry (Henry speaks!)

comments: 5

Elaine said...


I, too, would say 'dusting off [one's] hands.' Usually it's a stagy act, IMHO, unless you've just finished rolling out noodle dough, say, in which case you might really need to dust off your paws.

Elaine Fine said...

How about calling the gesture a "multiple swipe of completion," ("m-swoc" for short).

To use it as a verb (slightly irregular, of course), you omit the "m.":

I swock
You swock
We sweek
I swuck my hands

and you use the complete form of the "word" when using it as a noun:

Henry gave an m-swock, and walked away.

Michael Leddy said...

Elaine, may I introduce Elaine?

Other Elaine said...

Please do! (I forgot to use Other Elaine as I was already signed in.) Actually, I visited Elaine Fine's site--impressed!--last year some time...

Michael Leddy said...

If anyone is wondering what it’s all about: I’m married to Elaine Fine.