The Study of Man: Hail, Meeters! Greeters, Farewell!
IN EVERY American decade we say goodbye to a landmark or a character we had grown used to. A generation ago we said goodbye to the five-cent stein and the Uncle Tom Negro. Today we seem to be seeing the decline of the Greeter. The Greeter was a man masculine who always came to the Chicago conventions in a back-slapping mood. His literary portrait, by Sinclair Lewis, was completed while he was beginning to become extinct. What ever happened to the Greeters? Many died, some retired, and the rest are becoming Meeters.
Take my old friend George R. Waffletree, now in his fifties. When I saw him recently, after a lapse of years, I realized immediately that he had changed in many ways. He did not slap me on the back or shake my hand roughly, as in the past. This was not chilliness on his part; it was the sign of a general alteration in this once jolly Vice President in Charge of Rebates. I later learned that it was a new kind of warmth, the “group-participative” kind, that he was aiming for.
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