Saturday, November 8, 2014

High Five

The High Five:

If the Internet is to be believed. [1]  "Gimme five" or the "low five" has been popular since before WWII and is at least as old as the twenties. [2]

It took until the 70's for it to morph into it's mentally deficient cousin the "high five".

At the risk of giving away my feelings about this too early in this post, I can't stand high fives.

Wikipedia lists several possible origins of this overhead hand slap.  It seems the most likely [3] is Glenn Burke and Dusty Baker, who were both playing for the Dodgers back in 1977.  In a moment of pure happiness after Baker hit his 30th home run and secured the Dodgers place in the play-offs, Burke ran over to the plate to meet Baker with his hand over his head.  Baker, not knowing what else to do, reached up and slapped it with his own hand and thus this societal pain in the ass was born.

If it wasn't Burke and Baker who were responsible, all of the other possible origin stories also involve sports.  So whoever it was, we can at least be reasonably sure that the origin is sports related.  Which makes sense and truth be told I would have been glad to see whoever it was that invented it, performing it that first time.  Or during any other spontaneous celebration of a difficult victory.

You see my problem with the high five isn't that the action is stupid or that it is inappropriate in and of itself.  Instead my problem with it is two-fold.  The first is that it is over-used and the second is that once someone puts up their hand, you are now socially obligated to reciprocate.

To further elucidate [4]:

Any import given to or from a high five, any real sense of meaning was long ago washed away by overuse.  It is now akin to asking somebody, "How ya doing?"  Which has been asked so many times, that the speaker doesn't really want or expect any answer longer than 'fine'.  Which is okay with the person replying, because they don't want to give anything longer than that either.  It's just an extended form of exchanging hi's.

Similarly, the high five, which was created in a moment of spontaneous joy to celebrate a momentous occasion is now used to celebrate everything from unjamming a stapler to managing to open a door.  In fact, I suspect you can think of someone who asks for a high five every time you see them.

Gary [walking up to a group of friends]: Hey, what's up?
Toolbag: It's Gary! High five!
Gary: What exactly are we celebrating here?  My ability to walk over here or just the simple fact of my existence?

And while that's only semi-annoying, there are plenty of other similar examples of exchanges the have become so common place their real meaning/intent is lost.  For instance saying "Bless you" when someone sneezes, wishing someone, "Have a nice day" when they leave and the previously discussed "How are you?" just to name a few. [5]

What makes the high five more annoying is that it doesn't just require a short verbal response.  Instead you must physically join in on the celebration of the workaday and you really don't have any choice.  Because when presented with a raised palm and a verbal: "High five!" you cannot ignore it without causing yourself to look like the jerk.

Chuck [the most annoying person you know and somebody you usually try to avoid seeing never mind touching at all costs]: Hey look, we have on matching socks!  High five!
You: We both have on plain white socks.  If you look, you can see that they aren't even the same brand.
Chuck: [hand still raised expectantly] . . .
You: Sigh.

Why must I be forced to participate in another's celebration of the mundane or inane?

Did you just win the game for our team?  Then I believe a celebratory display is in order.  High fives, hugs, picking you up on our shoulders or something similar is not only okay, but is called for.

Did you just pick a stray paper clip up off of the floor?  Much like the hugs and parading you around on our shoulders is probably going a bit too far, perhaps it really isn't worth a high-five either?

The ultimate problem is that some people just really, really love to get/give high fives.  Is it that they are just so overflowing with joy that they feel compelled to share it?  Or perhaps they are deprived of human contact?  Maybe social interaction such a rarity for them that the momentary smack of palm on palm is an oasis in a desert.  Maybe it's some sort of brainwashing.

I think that from now on when I find myself on the receiving end of a high five request, I'll just hug the person instead.

Or perhaps I should carry around a pocket full of confetti that I can throw to up the celebration one more notch into the absurd.

Or it might be that I'm just a grump.

High-fives: D+

[1] - And why wouldn't we believe the Interwebs?
[2] - You can evidently see Al Jolson doing it in the Jazz Singer.
[3] - Or at least the most commonly believed.  And eventually what else matters?
[4] - It's an SAT word.  Go look it up.  Fine, I'll look it up for you.  Here.
[5] - It's not that there is anything wrong with these. But when you say, "Bless you" after someone sneezes do you really mean that you hope they receive some sort of blessing or are you just filling the space with the socially normed response?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Spaghettle Noodies

Spaghettle Noodies:

I was picking up the boys after work today.  Because it's election day, the Bear was out of Kindergarten and he got to spend the day with the lady who watches the Bean and used to watch him for day care.  As we were getting ready to leave, the topic of dinner came up.  I had previously mentioned making spaghetti a few days before and the Bear was trying to tell me that's what he wanted for dinner.

In case I haven't mentioned it before, the Bear is incredibly articulate for a five year old.  He has no problem speaking and the only words he regularly mispronounces are the ones that we haven't told him he's saying wrong because it's just too darn cute. [1]

Only on this occasion his brain got kerfuttled [2] and he spoonerized [3] the words.  Only it was one of those occasions where as you're speaking you know it's coming out wrong but you can't stop it and attempts to fix it just make it worse.

If you want to hear someone else discussing it, go look up "Brian Regan take luck" on youtube.  Or just click this link [4].

At any rate, despite the Bear's best efforts otherwise, all he could manage to say was "Spaghettle Noodies"[5] over and over again.  He kept trying to say something else, with many false starts and stops, but to no avail.

Having been the victim myself of such mental malfunctions many time in the past, I immediately started laughing.  The Bear's old day-care Nana, could only make out what sounds like "Nudies" and simply stared at him.  It was good times.

Fast forward to us getting home and making dinner.  The Pook is in full school play costume mode and is away slaving over a sewing machine, so it was just the men in the kitchen

The Bear helped me make the spaghetti sauce [6] and then once the noodles were done it was time to eat.

I don't know if you've ever eaten spaghetti with a two-year old and a five year old, but in case you haven't let me illuminate you as to a crucial fact or two.

The possibility that the two year old will not end up with sauce on every part of his being is so remote as to be non-existent.  The five year old has better odds, but they're still nothing you'd want to take to Vegas. Thus you'd better be prepared to clean up afterwards and if they are wearing any clothes you want to remain unstained with red sauce you'd better remove them prior to the event.[7]  

And thus it was that the Bean was promptly stripped down to his diaper and the Bear was told to take off his shirt.

I sat down myself, but in the short span of time it had taken me to go from seating the Bean, to the counter to pick up my plate and back to the table, he'd already painted his portion of the town red.  So, I promptly stood back up and took off my own shirt. [8]

So there we three sat, happily munching on [9] our pasta.

And as I looked around the table at our various states of undress, I thought:

Spaghettle Noodies it is.

Spaghettle Noodies: A+

[1] - Like Pretzel.  He still calls them Prentzels and we're okay with that.
[2] - Technical term
[3] - An actual linguistic term, as opposed to kerfuttled.
[4] - Any of the first two videos have the clip.  But do yourself a favor and listen to the longer one, because Brian Regan is hilarious.  Or if stand-up turned into a Coke ad is more your speed, click this.
[5] - Prounced "Spag-ettle" and "New-dees"
[6] - Yes, I make my own sauce.  It doesn't take that long and it tastes way better than anything from a jar.  If you ask nice, maybe I'll give you the recipe.
[7] - In truth, the Bear likes his with no sauce and just butter and Parmesan cheese, but not surprisingly it doesn't really cut down on the mess that much.
[8] - After all it's a fool that doesn't take his own advice.
[9] - And in the Bean's case, wearing.