Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Down with High Fives

…Look, all I’m saying is Why would you give a high-five anymore when you could give a fist bump?
            I’ll tell you the philosophy behind fist-bumps.  For a long time they seemed to have a bum rap as something only poseurs or people from California did.  I think they gained more of an acceptance after they became so pervasive in sports.  I remember seeing Graham Lloyd of the Yankees hold (what would come to be known as Holding) a game in the World Series and giving an extended series of fist-bumps to his teammates, and though I didn’t pick it up right then, that’s when it slowly began to creep into my mind to break away from the high-five scene.
            Look, high-fives are great, but they can be way overused.  There’s always that really excitable guy you know who gives high-fives which are way too hard. Yes, The Todd from Scrubs is the most egregious example, but there’s a reasonable chance you knew someone like that in high school.  The problem with high-fives is that you never have the same enthusiasm for the greeting on both sides, or so it seems to manifest itself.
            Not so with fist-bumps, or “pounding it”.  You can get away with a lot less enthusiasm, but still get across the same message to your chums: “I commend you on a job well done. I share in your joy.”  Plus, if you become a person who does fist-bumps, perhaps too often, you are able to send this same message even when you are not feeling as enthusiastic.  And if you do then give a high five, your compatriot will understand just how special of an occasion it is.
            The beauty of them, though, is that not only do they replace high-fives, they also replace handshakes.  When drawn out or added on to, they can create the appearance of a special bond between you and anyone who also subscribes to the “pounding it” school of thought.  In a conservative way they can release the tension of a situation in which neither of the two parties involved are quite sure which method of shared greeting is most appropriate, or in times of limited physical space to acknowledge someone’s arrival or job well done.
            Have you ever noticed how much you miss when you’re in the habit of giving high-fives? Even the best fivers are only about 90% rate of connection.  And even when you don’t get a good high five, there is often the occasional unsatisfying high-five. There is rarely an unsatisfying fist-bump, just because there are so many ways to pull the move off, and they never require that much energy (which is really what this is all about, isn’t it?).
            When I ask you, for example, Where does the dog go? and stick out my fist except with my pointer and pinky out, and, you say The Pound (or don’t) and/or pound it.  Or I stick out my fist and say Potato- and you pound it, say Fries and we each do the hand explosion. My favorite version is to do the hand-explosion, extending past the point of contact, then reverse and scrape knucks on the way back.  Isn’t this fun?
            And finally there’s the PeZ (named after a friend of mine at St. John’s back in the day).  (Hi, PeZ!) So you gotta pound it with fists horizontal, then at point of contact, Lock it up (here you turn them vertical) and put the chains on (hand-open, slide it past point of contact).
Now get some practice in- there’s going to be an exam.

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