High Five, Low Five, Fist Bump

It’s official. Our family is switching over from the high five to the fist bump.

I’ll admit it, this decision was made after I read last week’s NYT magazine and learned that William Safire has noticed the fist bump, thus dragging it into the public lexicon in a way I just can’t ignore.

Plus, I do love Obama. I’m still regretting not bringing the kids to see him, last time he was in Phoenix.

And finally, I’m happy to do away with the high five.

“You know what I think of whenever I see Sophie high five?” I asked Ray this afternoon.


No need to say it. We were both thinking of an article we remember too well, must have been at least a year ago, in one of those special supplements the Times puts out — this one on education, and I swear, we don’t just sit around reading high brow newspapers. I am proud of my subscriptions to People, Bust and Domino.

This article was about mainstreaming, specifically, a young adult woman (could have been a man, but I’m fairly sure it was a girl) with Down syndrome, who insisted on high fiving everyone on the bus every day when she got on. The writer made sure to note that while cute on the surface, this was a source of annoyance to the high five recipients.

I don’t fault the writer at all; it’s the kind of detail I treasure in my own writing and the writing I edit. But in this case, it made me wince, and I do think about it every time Sophie high fives — which must be half a dozen times a day, easy.

The high five is a big deal to Sophie, a way of connecting, the sign of a job well done. She does it with gusto, so hard it hurts, coming from her teeny hand. I don’t want to get rid of the idea, even if it does hit the pit of my stomach every time.

So we’ll do the fist bump instead. At least we’ll be cool. And instead of thinking of that sad article every time, I’ll think of how my sister and brother in law trash-talked the phrase “fist bump” til we all laughed so hard we couldn’t breath.


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