Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays: High Five Day
What does high-fiving have to do with nightlife or local entertainment? Nothing. And everything. Read on, as Owl Meat takes us on a cultural adventure:
Rejoice, bro-hams! Thursday is National High Five Day. Up high! For real. Come on, brosephs! Drats, the interweb has left me hangin'.
The 1980s were the Golden Age of the high five, the celebration of awesome low-brow moments via ritual male bonding. High fives now are half-hearted and perfunctory.
Back then there were rules. A slow response to an "up high" could yield the "too slow" fake out that turns into a hair smoother. The low five or down low was an optional sequel. I've been told there is a pivoting high/low combo move.
The high five, like the "whoop" or "woo" yelp, was a dude activity. Gender equality has diluted their macho value ...
A traditional meat-head/frat boy high five was like swatting a bat out of the air. Ow, that hurts. It was fast and furious, and if you missed, there was bro-shame.
A lame innovation is the lady five. The lady five, in contrast, is a gentle upward pushing, like you're petting a stuffed giraffe or doing water ballet. I've seen Barbara Walters do it and it does not get lamer than that. Okay, parents high-fiving babies is lamer.
Then there's the high ten. No. Just no. I envision girls' soccer players high-tenning. Or octogenarians after a Yahtzee tournament.
Now for a little history. The high five is a recent invention. It has only been part of the Oxford English Dictionary since 1980.
The high five's ancestors included, "gimme some skin" and "slap me five." I associate these with old jazz cats and 1970s TV pimps. "Gimme some skin" was done at waist level with the palms grazing each other in a sly manner and attitude. "Slap me five" was a waist-high thwack.
Like most cool things from black culture, these were modified, popularized, and ruined by white dorks. (See The Todd from Scrubs.)
High-fiving was ably lampooned in the 1980s by the High-Fivin' White Guys.
According to Wikipedia, "the first high five in baseball occurred between Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke of the Los Angeles Dodgers in late 1977." Who really invented the high five? Impossible to say. It's like asking who invented burping the alphabet.
The high five was almost invented by the Nazis in the 1920s, but they only got it half right. The "Heil Five" is a classic example of being "left hanging".
Al Jolson does a celebratory low five in the 1927 film "The Jazz Singer." Take that, Nazis!
There is a mind-blowing version of "slap me five" in the Abbott and Costello movie "In the Navy" (1941), with the Andrews Sisters singing "Gimme Some Skin, My Friend." Warning: Watching this might cause all your awesomeness to flee your body. It is the whitest thing I've ever seen.
Here is a cool video of a cyclist in New York City, high-fiving unwitting people hailing taxis.
From now on, I think I will go mega-old school and simply proclaim a hearty "Huzzah! Huzzah!"
(Photo by Getty Images)