Note: I originally wrote this as my final for a technical writing class. It was not received well. I think this is mostly because technical writers are not well known for their great and boundless humor in all aspects of life. But it could also be because I’m the kind of asshole who writes crap like this for a technical writing class.
When done correctly, the high-five (sometimes simply “The Five,”) can be a motivational and invigorating gesture used to boost company morale, signify approval for a job well done, or merely as a firm and friendly greeting to another high-five participant, or “Fiver.” When done improperly, however, the high-five can lead to an awkward sense of disappointment, a foolish appearance, or even serious facial injuries. To avoid possible consequences, and insure the safety and comfort of all persons involved, always follow these 8 simple steps to the standard high-five.
SECTION 1: INITIATION
1: Begin by moving the arm slightly back, as you lift it up and forward. Remember to keep your arm relaxed, and your muscles loose. Avoid tensing up, as this may result in muscle strain or injury.
Note: This should be one continuous, fluid, circular motion, somewhat similar to one your racket arm would undergo while serving a ball in tennis, as in fig. 1, below.
SECTION 2: PLACEMENT
2: Keep the arm bent at the elbow, as this allows you greater freedom to adjust the location of the slap.
Note: This flexibility is essential, as depending upon the situation, the height of a high-five may vary greatly; from the “Greetings Five,” which is typically placed lower and is mainly used by way of introduction, to the “Job Well Done Five,” a congratulatory Five which is executed so high as to occasionally warrant a brief, standing vertical jump, sometimes referred to as a “five-hop.”
3: Remember that whoever initiates the five will ultimately decide upon the height. If you are initiating, give your fellow fiver ample time to gauge the situation and prepare, and remember these essentials:
A. Hold your hand up, perpendicular to the ground, at the height and angle you feel appropriate, as in fig. 2.
B. If necessary, inform the anticipated fiver by stating clearly but firmly: “High-five!”
C. Continue as normal to step 5.
Note: If you are the recipient of a high-five and are unsure of the exact location of The Five, it is considered acceptable to cease the forward motion of your arm before the slap occurs, allowing the initiator to “slap you five.” This is preferred to risking a miss, which may result in slapped faces, poked eyes, and social humiliation.
SECTION 3: THE SLAP
NOTICE: This is perhaps the most important element of the high-five, as it is essential to create a solid, resounding clap upon impact.
5: Cup your hand slightly, as though to pat a dog or small child on the head, as in fig. 3 below.
6: Keep the thumb lined up along the side of the hand, not curled into the palm, for maximum surface impact area.
7: Execute the slap. Connect flatly and evenly across the palm of the hand using a firm, but yielding grip. Apply no more force than the situation warrants.
Warning: Though there are tempting, eye-pleasing, and complicated after-slap motions, (such as the “reverse down-low,” whereby after the five occurs, it is continued at a lower level, and reapplied at the backswing, or the “step-back re-five” where the Fiver, after the initial slap, takes a step backward, and rapidly executes a successive number of recurring slaps) please keep in mind that these are highly advanced Fives, and are strictly reserved for the professional Fiver: The most advanced Fives, such as the “Leaping Impact Five,” as shown below in fig. 4, have been known to result in serious injury or even death. Please use the utmost precaution if ever executing non-standard Fiving practice. It is perfectly normal to execute the high-five and stop there, taking pleasure in a job well done.
Note: Remember that the five is not over at the slap: it is also important to follow through well.
8: Continue arm motion along the arc you initially began. Allow your arm to naturally fall forward and down, and if this is your first five, try to keep it simple.
You have successfully completed the first of hopefully many fantastic high-fives! By following these 8 simple steps every time a Five is initiated, you can be sure of a long and lucrative future safely and productively high-fiving your fellow man, or woman!