Soapbox time, again.
High fives are dangerous. Just last week an oral
surgeon sued the Chicago Bulls and their mascot – Benny the Bull – for
an off-kilter high five. Dr. Kalant, a dentist who was sitting
courtside at a Bulls game attempted to high-five the Bull, played by
Barry Anderson, as he was running along the court. Moments later,
Anderson grabbed Kalant’s arm while falling forward, rupturing the
dentist’s bicep. Result: Surgery, loss of four months income;
Chicagoans with aching un-pulled wisdom teeth; big lawsuit… and
everybody in town asking “What is there to high-five about at a Bulls
We’re saying it’s time to put down the palms – enough with the high-fives.
Yes, we know just two weeks ago, April 17th, was
National High Five day. Yes, we know High Five Day was originated at
the University of Virginia in 2002. Yes, we know Virginia grad Ralph
Sampson did not create it. Yes, we know every time Ralph Sampson tried
to high five someone, he whiffed. Yes, 0 for 30 on his high-fives, we
know. Yes, we know that since this day started, communicable diseases
have risen 30%. Yes, we know the first sports figure to popularize the
high-five was Louisville basketball star Darrell Griffith (Dr.
Dunkenstein) in 1980. Yes, we know a lot of folks broke their wrist
high-fiving the Griffster.
There’s a high-five incident gone awry almost every
year. And that doesn’t count mountain climbers who are so happy to
reach a certain level they attempt the five while swinging by their
climbing partners only to smash a face into the rocks. We rarely hear
about those incidents because their climbing partners don’t want to
fess. But we did hear about comedian Ariel Spears, who was ordered to
serve jail time for high fiving an audience member’s breast.
Bad form, Ariel. You probably could have got the same amount of jail time with a low five.
Which brings us to our point: Do you want to be
doing a gesture that Bennie the Bull and Ariel Spears do? Weren’t you
high-five insisters embarrassed enough to see it enacted on Seinfeld…
by Kramer and Putty, no less? Even worse, you see the Barney
Stinson character (acted by Neil Patrick Harris) constantly use it on
How I Met Your Mother. Still not mortified? Okay. Who’s the weirdest,
sexually ambiguous, character on network TV? Easy answer, right? Of
course: Todd “The Todd” Quinlan from Scrubs, the totally inappropriate
Todd with the armless scrub vest. He’s the constant high-fiver. Do you
need even another example of the naïve guy gone high-five crazy?
How about Borat? Still not dropping the palm? If you’re an old guy
this one will convince you: the guy who first did the high-five in both
movies and TV, Phil Silvers. I said Phil Silvers. Not even close to a
cool guy. Double ouch.
Are you starting to drop that hand just a little
bit? Whoa! Hold it! You’re not thinking of doing the windmill, are you?
Where you meet up top and then continue on around swinging your arms
downward and meet in a “low-five”? Those other gestures, the standard
high fives as enacted by Kramer and Barney Stinson and “The Todd” were
only slightly nerdy, maybe just a little bit gay. But the “windmill” as
popularized by Tom Cruise in Top Gun, what century are you in? That’s
so 1986. I can see fans slapping palms after a touchdown at a football
game. I’d like them to stop but I can see it. But can you imagine a
whole section celebrating with the windmill? You’d think Ariel Spears
was running amok in the stadium. If one breast gets you two weeks, how
big a jail would you need to lock up five hundred crotch grabbers.
Can we agree on this? Cap it off with some kind of palm slap? Okay, let’s hi… ooops.