Join 3,502 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Well, Will Wheaton invented the Sci Five...
July 30, 2011 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Who invented the high five?
posted by garlic (55 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Who invented the finger? NOW that's what I want to know.
posted by Fizz at 7:00 AM on July 30, 2011


National High Five Day (mentioned in the article) is the brainchild of MeFi's own JoeGoblin.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:19 AM on July 30, 2011


(I asked)...the founders of National High Five Day: Conor Lastowka, a comedy writer, and Greg Harrell-Edge, who was once named "Laziest Person in America" ... whether the Sleets story was even true.

"You know," Harrell-Edge said, "you are actually the first person to ask us that."

It was all a hoax, a publicity stunt. They'd concocted the whole story, then scoured college basketball rosters to plug in a name. "We just found the guy and made up a story about his dad,"


Christ, what assholes.
posted by Floydd at 7:20 AM on July 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Pro tip: when high-fiving a friend*, if each of you looks at the other person's elbow (on the fiving hand), you will never miss.



*May not be true for enemies.
posted by pecanpies at 7:29 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had assumed that high-fiving was as old as civilization itself. It seems such a basic, unpretentious greeting. But wow. Makes me feel young for the first time in a while.
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:48 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


We were "slapping five" in the 1960s which I'm sure we got from watching pro athletes on TV. But that was what the article calls a "low five". I guess I never noticed when it changed.
posted by tommasz at 7:57 AM on July 30, 2011


Yes, I also am elderly enough to remember the waist-level "gimme five" days, before the experimental "on the side," "behind the back," "up high" period.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:00 AM on July 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


Down low?

Too slow.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:01 AM on July 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


The illustrations on Wikipedia for "down low / too slow" as of now (permanent link) are hilarious.
posted by dhens at 8:02 AM on July 30, 2011 [25 favorites]


Down low?

Too slow.


Pretty sure that means something completely different nowadays. Meanwhile, the innovation continues.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:03 AM on July 30, 2011


Wow. That Glenn Burke story is one powerful bit of trivia. Too bad those High Five Day clowns missed that one.

As a parent of a two year old, every play date and get together ends with a round of kiddie high fives. Today when we come home from the park, I have a good story to tell: "Did you ever hear the story of the guy who first popularized the high five? Pretty tragic, really..."
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:08 AM on July 30, 2011


The illustrations on Wikipedia for "down low / too slow" as of now (permanent link) are hilarious.

They're probably there to stay - they've been there for at least a year or two.
posted by cashman at 8:36 AM on July 30, 2011


Top Gun came out when I was in seventh grade, so I'd always assumed that Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer invented the high five along with smoldering but inexpressible homoeroticism.
posted by the_bone at 8:38 AM on July 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


That story was strange because it seemed basically a really indirect way to tell the story of Glenn Burke.

I'm not complaining, it was really interesting, thanks. Mr. Burke's story is an upsetting one and one I hope his experiences and example will have helped to change the conditions for athletes who come out as gay/lesbian/transgender/etc. He sounds like he was a cool guy.
posted by dubitable at 8:48 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, Hitler tried.

Makes you wonder how things would have turned out if he hadn't been left hangin' every time.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:07 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Was it P. Diddy?
posted by gompa at 9:07 AM on July 30, 2011


My buddy made this, it's related and funny.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 9:11 AM on July 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's so simple, and so ingrained in our culture, that it seems difficult to believe that it hasn't been around for tens of thousands of years.

Anyway, from the article:
And as the 2010 television documentary Out: The Glenn Burke Story revealed, Dodgers executives scrambled to squash those rumors at all costs: In the off-season of 1977, team VP Al Campanis offered Burke $75,000 to get married.
Wow.
posted by Flunkie at 9:12 AM on July 30, 2011


Too bad those High Five Day clowns missed that one.

Probably the reason they made up the Sleets story. "High Five: Gay Pride!" wouldn't score too many points with most sports fans.
posted by stbalbach at 9:22 AM on July 30, 2011


Fortunately, some ingrained features of the culture are starting to get buffed out.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:23 AM on July 30, 2011


As the patent holder of any physical interaction between fleshy hand-like systems, you'll be hearing from my lawyers.
posted by Taft at 9:33 AM on July 30, 2011


Probably the reason they made up the Sleets story. "High Five: Gay Pride!" wouldn't score too many points with most sports fans.

"Wait, the high five was invented by a [expletive deleted]? No way I'm doing that anymore! I'll just stick with fist-pumping to 'We Will Rock You' and 'YMCA' between innings like the totally hetero dude I am."
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:36 AM on July 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


The high five comes from baseball. Even today you see players returning to the dugout after scoring a run greeted by the outstretched arms of their teammates who are standing a few feet below field level.
posted by three blind mice at 9:42 AM on July 30, 2011


Oops!
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:48 AM on July 30, 2011


> Anyway, from the article:

And as the 2010 television documentary Out: The Glenn Burke Story revealed, Dodgers executives scrambled to squash those rumors at all costs: In the off-season of 1977, team VP Al Campanis offered Burke $75,000 to get married.

Wow.


You left out the best part!

"According to a friend, Burke rejected the marriage deal with a mix of wit and rebelliousness. He told Campanis, "I guess you mean to a woman."
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:49 AM on July 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


As part of the Saint Stupid's Day events in San Francisco we do a variation on the high five. Fold your thumbs over your palms before slapping palms. Try it. Stupid isn't it?
posted by njohnson23 at 10:07 AM on July 30, 2011


I thought it was pretty firmly established that the high-five was invented by Jo Mamma.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:29 AM on July 30, 2011


The Beatles did.
posted by Askiba at 11:18 AM on July 30, 2011


(Well, that and the thumbs up. They just don't cover it in that video. x_x )
posted by Askiba at 11:21 AM on July 30, 2011


My favorite variation (extension?) is:
Gimme five
up high
down low
through the hole (make circle with your thumb and index finger, they put their finger through)
thanks for cleaning my toilet bowl.

Kills em at preschool. KILLS.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:40 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is a TV ad of a man interrupting a children's ping pong game to take a 3D picture. He offers a five to one of the children who declines with a "stop" hand motion. Is this a "no five"?
posted by Cranberry at 11:43 AM on July 30, 2011


Well, Hitler tried.
posted by Sys Rq


Except he called it the heil five.
posted by George Clooney at 2:09 PM on July 30, 2011


Don't look at the elbow; that's a coping mechanism for the insecure. Real high-fives are painful and involve eye contact.
posted by Earthtopus at 2:14 PM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]



Maybe this explains why I never could get on the Tommy Lasorda band wagon.
posted by notreally at 3:29 PM on July 30, 2011


That was one of the most interesting things I've read recently. It had never occurred to me that the high five hadn't been around my whole life. But way more than that, the Burke - Lasorda - smith thing is fascinating and so very sad.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:04 PM on July 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


National High Five Day (mentioned in the article) is the brainchild of MeFi's own JoeGoblin.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:19 PM on July 30



Conor Lastowka (JoeGoblin) has a response to the story of the hoax here.

The point that it is not OK to make up things about real people and then repeat them over and over again online, on radio and TV seems to have missed the mark with this particular MetaFilter member. Likewise, the part where a dead man with a hard-done-by life is potentially being deprived of his legacy.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:27 PM on July 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anyone know 'gimmee ten'? About the only cultural reference I can think of is maybe Good Times, but let's don't forget that ritual of the 70s.
posted by crapmatic at 8:08 PM on July 30, 2011


...it is not OK to make up things about real people and then repeat them over and over again online, on radio and TV...

This bears repeating.
Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Floydd at 8:16 PM on July 30, 2011


...it is not OK to make up things about real people and then repeat them over and over again online, on radio and TV...

...and then say it's the people who unwittingly spread your egregious lies who are the real villains.

Christ, indeed.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:16 PM on July 30, 2011


Trolling a few morning radio shows with a fabricated story about something as innocuous as the origin of the High Five doesn't exactly strike me as the epitome of evil. If nothing else, it serves as an interesting narrative about how exactly something can morph from a made up story, to a hoax, to an urban legend, to an accepted "fact" on Wikipedia due to non-existent fact-checking.

That the subject of their story is still living is a problem, but it's not like he's getting harassed for interviews left and right. His wife seemed amused and enthusiastic about it. And really, they fessed up the first time someone confronted them to verify the story. Seems like the cries of "asshole" have more to do with sympathy for Burke and his unverifiable legacy, which Connor & Co. have undoubtedly drawn increased attention to via their made-up holiday.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:48 PM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great story but if you think that was surprising...man, you are NEVER gonna believe who put the Bomp in the Bomp shoo womp doo wamp!
posted by spicynuts at 1:26 AM on July 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Burke story was amazing.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:33 AM on July 31, 2011


man, you are NEVER gonna believe who put the Bomp in the Bomp shoo womp doo wamp!

Who was that man? I'd like to shake his hand.
posted by Elmore at 3:37 AM on July 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


The buried lead in this is obviously Glenn Burke, and his relationship to Tommy Lasorda's son. I am a Dodger fan (pity me) and never knew this stuff.
posted by Danf at 8:13 AM on July 31, 2011


I'm Conor. I was quoted in that story. Like someone else said, I wrote up my side of the story here. I don't think the fun sounding people who dismissed us as assholes outright will gain much by reading it, but at least you can see the reactions from Sleets and his wife.

I think the author overdid it quite a bit with the "tragic" talk of someone being "deprived their legacy." I think he confused the admittedly sad details of Glenn Burke's life with him not being credited for inventing something that the author even admits probably has no single origin. Seeing as how he's still mentioned every time the story is ever brought up, he clearly hasn't been "deprived" of anything. I think the article would have been more effective if he had devoted it entirely to Burke and his experience of being a gay sports figure, the high five origin seemed to just provide a flimsy framing device for going into that anyways.

I will say that it is an odd experience to be interviewed by a reporter, and witness 15 minutes of good natured conversation and followup emails be reduced to one quote in a piece that has a negative underlying tone towards you. There certainly wasn't any hint whatsoever of that when we spoke to the guy. Reminiscent of the Simpsons episode "Homer Bad Man" where he goes on the Current Affair style talk show and they edit in grim sounding music and edit his words around to make him sound like a creep.
posted by JoeGoblin at 10:55 AM on July 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seeing as how he's still mentioned every time the story is ever brought up, he clearly hasn't been "deprived" of anything.

Well, sure, except all those times you--posing as the de facto expert on the subject--knowingly and unapologetically passed off that lie about Sleets and didn't once mention Burke, which are pretty much the only times the subject has ever come up in the media.

The subject may be minor, but you spread revisionist history over the airwaves. Consider what kind of company that puts you in.

Apologies are free, you know.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:18 PM on July 31, 2011


Some say that Conor Lastowka invented being an asshole.
posted by speicus at 3:01 PM on July 31, 2011


Regarding Lasorda, I knew his son the last 2 years of his life as we took yoga together. He actually introduced me to his mother. Incredible yogi, good, warm heart. I have no respect for his father.
posted by goalyeehah at 6:02 PM on July 31, 2011


It's so simple, and so ingrained in our culture, that it seems difficult to believe that it hasn't been around for tens of thousands of years.

You may be shocked to learn that "our culture" itself hasn't been around for "tens of thousands of years".
posted by DU at 6:17 AM on August 1, 2011


Top Gun came out when I was in seventh grade, so I'd always assumed that Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer invented the high five along with smoldering but inexpressible homoeroticism.

BEACH

VOLLEYBALL

posted by Evilspork at 6:57 AM on August 1, 2011


Yes, I also am elderly enough to remember the waist-level "gimme five" days, before the experimental "on the side," "behind the back," "up high" period.

Let's not forget "Cut the pickle", "tickle tickle" - my 2 year old son loves that one.
posted by antifuse at 10:35 AM on August 2, 2011


BEACH

VOLLEYBALL

posted by Sys Rq at 11:22 AM on August 2, 2011


dirtdirt: "My favorite variation (extension?) is:
Gimme five
up high
down low
through the hole (make circle with your thumb and index finger, they put their finger through)
thanks for cleaning my toilet bowl.

Kills em at preschool. KILLS.
"

The one my kids have learned is:

Up high
down low
cut the pickle (other person chops through your touching index fingers)
get a tickle (obv)
posted by Chrysostom at 8:03 AM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Chrysotom, if you'll look two comments up you'll see that I already brought that one to the table :P
posted by antifuse at 10:34 AM on August 17, 2011


antifuse: "Chrysotom, if you'll look two comments up you'll see that I already brought that one to the table :P"

Gah! Sorry, missed that.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:40 PM on August 17, 2011


« Older There are more than 700 curious tunnel networks in...  |  Most of the talk about renewab... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments