The Science of the High Five


Apparently, there is a science to the high-five. Color me shocked, but I had no idea that there was this class of study until my daughter decided to drop a knowledge bomb on me and inform me about it. Here I was, in all my years of living on God’s green earth (which she informed me was blue, because it is mostly ocean), giving high-fives and doing it in a non-scientific manner.

See, when I give a high-five, I put my hand up and stop, allowing the person who is on the other end to aim and complete the arc, connecting the hands at the top. I do this because when I use to continue the effort I would leave the person with whoseย hand I connected, stinging and in pain. I tend to be forceful, exuberant even, when giving high-fives, and because I have big hands and know how to cup them just right to create the greatest amount of impact, the resulting connection is quite magnificent. Having worked with kids for such a long time, I recognized that this could be a bad thing, so I adopted the much more passive version that I use now. Unless of course it’s a teenager who annoys me, then… well, full impact mode is a go.

So, when I did my tamer version with her today at lunch, she failed miserably and I mocked her inability to give a proper high-five. Being my daughter (and the apple not falling far from the tree at all (I actually think it rolled back toward the tree when it fell)), she unloaded upon me the bit of wisdom that is… the science of the high-five.

She raises her hand, swings it forward, making connection with an imaginary hand silently, and followed through with it all the while advising me that this is, in fact, the proper way to do a high-five. I listened intently, watching as she demonstrated again how I was to do this act if I were ever to be labeled a ‘cool dad’ (ok, I made that last part up, cause, seriously, I already am a cool dad… just ask me).

So, sitting across from her, having been taught by her expert level of physically colloquial greetings in an acceptable manner, we initiated the attempt again. We put our hands up in the proper starting position, pulled them back so they looked akin to a loaded catapult, and then launched them forward, hurling our hands together, and this time, I did not stop but carried through. The resulting clap was loud, loud enough that people sitting across the restaurant looked over at us. I think I saw concern on their faces as they looked at this young lady sitting across from me, holding her reddening hand with slight tears coming down her face wondering what wrong she had done to deserve such punishment.

I just stared at her and smiled with a bit of sting on my hand.

Tell me I don’t know how to high-five.

My generation invented it.

(p.s. Ok, she didn’t cry, but it makes for a funnier story. And no, I don’t know if we invented it or not, but again.. makes it funnier.)

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