Back when Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd were still funny they put together one of the best Christmas movies of all time: Trading Places. Aykroyd plays Louis Winthorpe III who finds himself homeless and penniless overnight after a life of country clubs. There, his character asks a prostitute for help. She was skeptical until looking at his hands. “Soft hands,” she noticed, “never done a hard day’s work in your life, have you?”
Hammer throwers would never be greeted with the same reaction, but we have our own telling features. You can tell a lot about a person by their hands. Last week a friend’s son audibly gasped when he felt the calluses on my hands. He turned to his father and asked what was wrong with my hand. And that is the least of it. When I worked briefly for the US government they were unable to obtain the requisite fingerprints on my left hand because the callouses were so thick. My ring finger is often swollen to the point that I cannot wear my wedding ring. And making a tight fist is difficult.