The Dap – Rosanne Ehrlich

As an older Jewish woman in her 60’s I was working in the Jewelry department of Saks Fifth Avenue and became friendly with the department guard who was an Afro-American in his early 20’s.  His humor reminded me of my son’s.  Often, as we stood on the selling floor and talked I watched him and his fellow guards give each other a greeting involving much hand, arm and shoulder movements in a seamlessly coordinated and extremely complicated way which I later learned was called a dap.   I asked him if he would teach me a cool handshake.

Each day when we first met he would patiently take me through the motions while I both tried to follow him and laughed at my own frequent fumbles.  Finally, I learned all the motions and we perfected our greeting.  We had, by now executed it flawlessly on two occasions, once near the lunch room and another time getting a sample chocolate from the candy counter near the escalators. 

A few mornings later, I was coming to work and rang for the freight elevator to take me to the selling floor.  When the doors opened, I entered and saw that he was standing there with two of his fellow guards, also Afro-American.  He and I perfectly executed our (to me) extremely complex handshake.  His buddies laughed and one of the said, “Finally, the revolution has arrived.”

Rosanne EhrlichRosanne Ehrlich’s novel Attack was published by Ballantine Books under the pen name Collis Ehrlich. Her poem “The Raspberry Frango” was published by Barbeque Planet and “Another Disney Fan Bites the Dust” was published in the Winter, 2016 issue of Persimmon Tree. She has also written television documentaries for The Great Ships on The History Channel.