Somehow common childhood torture techniques --- er, I mean games --- seem to cross generations and continents. I hear of people that have experienced the same ones I did: "mimic everything the other person says", "I'm not touching you," and "Why are you hitting yourself?" Most of these games are really only fun for the person in control. I remember fighting very hard to keep my own hands from hitting myself in the face.
As I walk to the subway each morning I pass groups of elderly Chinese during their morning exercise, and the question echos in my head, Why are you hitting yourself? I'm still not in control of the hitting, but I watch with wonder as arms and legs are slapped repeatedly. Is there some health benefit I am unaware of?
Usually, the body parts are slapped gently with their open palm. Apparently, sometimes other instruments are needed. One woman swings a pouch of (I assume) marbles one-handed, gently flagellating her back as she walks around the courtyard.
Another woman strolling by, and deep in conversation with a friend, meticulously taps her skull with a tiny metal hammer. A hammer??
I want to yell at her:
Why are you hitting yourself?!