The next time you see Blue Springs Councilman Chris Lievsay enter a room, watch him closely.

The next time you see Blue Springs Councilman Chris Lievsay enter a room, watch him closely.

Like a bee pollinating flowers, Lievsay moves from one person to another, shaking their hands, exchanging words and moving to the next.

And I’ve seen him do it in all weather conditions.

When I first met him, he shook my hand. Two years later, he still shakes my hand. Once he came into a City Council meeting one minute before it began. I watched him walk over to his chair, set down some papers and then proceed to shake every council member’s hand – from down in front.

I thought for sure he’d skip me that night, but I’m a beautifully plump flower that can easily be spotted in a field of flowers. And there he came, walking over and shaking my hand.

“Mr. Martin …”

What gives?

Last week I decided that he was obsessed, and I called him on it.

“I … don’t know if I’d call it an obsession,” Lievsay said this week by phone. “I enjoy meeting people.”

No, you enjoy shaking their hands, Chris.

I got to thinking about this obsession of Lievsay’s about two weeks ago. It’s election season and politicians across this fair land – local, state, federal – are shaking a lot of hands. Guys like Mitt Romney are shaking a lot of hands. Newt Gingrich is probably charging $50 to shake hands, and Rick Santorum is probably shaking a lot of hands when he’s not screaming at journalists.

I pressed Lievsay.

Were you formally trained in shaking hands? I asked him.

“I had no handshaking mentor that I know of, no,” he said.  “It’s just something I learned.”

He learned it in church – and because he has a large family, although I’m not sure what the size of one’s family has to do with a handshaking obsession.

“Five boys and three girls in my family,” he said.

You don’t shake hands with that many siblings; you hit them with toy bats and slam doors in their faces. I don’t think I ever shook my brother’s hand. My sister? Uh, not really, I don’t think so.

So now you’re probably wondering about the Lievsay Handshake.

From someone who has experienced it numerous times, I can say it’s a decent handshake. Whether you’re at a council meeting, civic event or standing under a bridge, Lievsay comes at you directly and his arm comes up at good clip. His palms are usually up, which denotes a non-threatening manner, and his grip is firm and sound, like a middle-aged pair of tennis shoes.

The clasp comes quick and doesn’t linger, which is also good form, for the clingers can cause much distress.

I keep waiting for the day when Lievsay offers the lower arm grasp, a common style among ancient Greeks and Romans, where you grab the other person’s wrist and vice versa. It was a way the ancients checked for concealed weapons, which might be a good fit for him considering the fact that he is a politician in bitter times.

But here’s the thing: Lievsay always reaches first.

I told him that I once heard that a good salesman never reaches first.

“No? Why is that?”

It can make the potential buyer uncomfortable, I said.

He said nothing to this and I asked if he had researched handshaking methods much.

“I can’t say that I have, no. Maybe I should.”

We got to talking about other kinds of handshakes, including the cold fish shake, the stiff-arm thrust, the socket-wrencher, the fingertip grab, the pump-handle and others.

I let the bag of beans spill when I told him of another handshaker at City Hall. Of course I didn’t reveal the individual’s name.

“Oh, how do they shake hands?” he said.

Very hard, I said. And the thing about people who shake your hand with the obvious intent of smashing it is that they are very insecure. They’re unsure of themselves. They’re weak but want to come off as strong.

“Who is this person?” he asked.

I declined again to tell him who it was, but I promised him that he’d know when he shook this hand. You can forget a lot about a person, but somehow their handshake remains, like a hand print in cement.