The Station Wagon podcast: Seattle - Snoqualmie - Olympia: Episode 26: Giving up Touching

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Episode 26: Giving up Touching

Julie and Marc are from Indiana where each person depends on a 36-inch circumference of personal space to maintain sanity. In this episode, the siblings get to have their wildest fantasy made real, expanding the 36-inches of space to infinity! That's right, they gave up all forms of touching. No high-fives, hugs, kisses, snogs, smooches, shoulder bumps, or shared-knee slaps.

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3000 BCE
Sumerian Poetry.

“My lips are too small, they know not to kiss.
My precious sweet, lying by my heart,
one by one "tonguemaking," one by one.
When my sweet precious, my heart, had lain down too,
each of them in turn kissing with the tongue, each in turn.[5]”

Gustav Klimt: The Kiss. Klimt depicts the couple locked in intimacy, while the rest of the painting dissolves into shimmering, extravagant flat pattern.
Temple Grandin - Hug Machine. The hug has always been seen as an “intrinsically organic gesture that could never be replaced by a machine, but in 1965, a hug machine was invented.” (Carey). Its inventor, Temple Grandin, grew up on her aunt’s farm in Wisconsin. Born with autism, she didn’t speak a word until she was four. She was fascinated with the cows which, when they were being medicated or vaccinated, were put into a squeeze chute. Some seemed to calm right away. Grandin would become uncomfortable and overstimulated by a hug from a person—but she also craved “pressure stimulation,” which calmed and relaxed her.

To resolve this dilemma, she invented what is known as the hug machine, or squeeze box. It was made out two hinged sideboards, each four by three feet with thick, soft padding. They formed a V-shape, with a complex control box at one end and heavy-duty tubes leading to an air compressor. The user lies or squats between the sideboards, for as long or short a period as desired. Using pressure exerted by the air compressor and controlled by the user, the sideboards apply deep pressure stimulation evenly across the lateral parts of the body.

Temple Grandin became a source of inspiration for those living with psychological disorders such as autism. Her hug machine is still used in therapy practices today, primarily as a relaxing technique for people with autism and autism-spectrum disorders.

Learning how to give serious cuddles. Marc and his now 12 year old.
Hugbot. The HugBot, a huge teddy bear with a somewhat goofy grin, can wrap its arms around you, and while it offers young and old a bear-hug, internal microphones pick up your pulse to give you a little added re-asurace - or an early warning if it spots something unusual.

Baymax. From Big Hero 6  “Would you like a hug?”
Free Hugs Project. Ken Nwadike, CEO of Superhero Events and Director of the Hollywood Half Marathon, attended the Boston Marathon to spread love and encourage runners with Free Hugs.

Equipped with a Free Hugs sign, camera, and tripod; the event was captured on video – which instantly went viral upon uploading to Youtube!
“While viewing the devastation of the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon, I was determined to be a participant in the next race. I failed to qualify by just 23 seconds, so I decided to attend the event in a different way. I provided free hugs to runners as encouragement along the route. This simple act made national news headlines and lifted runners spirits. Hugs produced smiles and gave runners an extra boost as they ran.”

Huggable. MIT researchers have launched a 90 patient study on the therapeutic value of a moving, blinking, talking toy bear.


12-year old and pebbles.

8-year old and pebbles

Marc and pebbles.
We got Pebbles the Puppy. She cuddles uniquely with each of us.


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