You won a gift card, you get away with a prank, you encourage a teammate, you let a person as young as a toddler know they did a great job, what do you do?
Its a little weird though?
Slapping palms about chest high or up, generally while smiling, and deciding you have communicated everything you needed to and you go about your day. It’s not a natural reflex in spite of the fact these days it certainly feels like it.
The high five is a relatively new gesture in American history to display mutual happiness and congratulations. Or, if you are an avid “How I Met Your Mother” follower, it can even be used to convey grief, moving past awkward interactions, and or to praise your faith.
So the story goes that it started as “giving skin/slapping skin” as a low five given amongst jazz musicians. Like all forms of popularity and notoriety, a person who embodies popular and notable performed the act: famous Al Jolson in the 1927 film The Jazz Singer.
Following it burst of fame as a result of the film, the next major burst of fame came in the late 60s or 70s depending on which athlete you believe. Yep, you read it right, athlete. Famed baseball players Dusty Baker and Glen Burke at a Los Angeles Dodgers game raised his hand to slap in celebration after Dusty Baker made a home run. Out of excitement and velocity, rather than hitting low, they hit high! and the high five was born! (see sources for additional athletes claiming to have been the first to put the high five on the map from its predecessor the low five).
Its final claim to fame was when the Louisville Cardinals in 1980 displayed the high five constantly in a nationally covered basketball game leading to its wide spread popularity amongst the American people. It was in this year the the term was added into the Oxford English Dictionary and in 1981, they determined the noun could also be used as a verb.
Now the high five, like many forms of communication, has taken on a variety of tones, connotations, and strains thanks to individuals personalizing this now famed gesture as seen on popular American TV shows like “How I Met Your Mother.”
Check out the links below for sources and further reading.
So giving a high five is not only taught gesture to us by others to communicate our mutual joy, but its basic enough that a child as young as a toddler can easily communicate with someone who has an impressive number of ticks on the ol’ odometer.
Did you get this far? Awesome! You are officially going to have the best fun fact story at the water cooler. But we are missing a piece:
GAAP compliance and the history of the high five? How do they relate?
Check us out next week for the following blog post!