I was a Junior in high school when my friend Berni put her hand out in front of me, palm up. Unclear what her intention was, I copied her motion and placed my hand in front of hers, also palm up.
After a moment of awkwardness, we both laughed at my failure to recognize that she was requesting “five” from me.
Little did I know, this would begin a 20-year (and counting) pattern of failed “fives,” both high and low.
The trouble is, fives always take me by surprise. By the time I figure out that one is coming at me, it’s too late to react in the expected way (i.e., raise my own hand and strike the hand of the other fiver). Most of the time, this results in just a sub-par five (I average more like a 2.4 to a 3.6), but sometimes if things go really badly, the failed five results in actual injury, usually fingernail-related.
Today, however, I was in high spirits and, ignoring my decades-long losing streak, I attempted to initiate a high-five. In re-evaluating the event, I realize that I made two tactical errors:
1) I used my right hand to initiate a cross-body five with the person approaching me on my left. I realized too late that a cross-body five is an advanced move and not one someone with my history should have attempted.
2) I remembered mid-five that I’d never actually completed a successful high-five except with my children when they were babies. I lost my confidence and let my hand drop, perhaps in an unconscious hope that the other person would just think I was doing some kind of weird but non-five-related movement with my hand, despite my audible declaration of, “high five!”
Regardless of the causes, I ended up getting hit in the face.
Don’t worry; I was fine. She didn’t even smudge my glasses. It’s just another reminder that I should leave the fives up to the cool kids.
Thank goodness I wasn’t trying to do the hand jive.