I swear i'll be writing more in 2014

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Top Gun Handshake

A great thing about film is the monkey-see-monkey-do moments. When I was a child watching Star Wars, I got together with the other kids in the neighborhood and played Star Wars. I'm not talking about fiddling about with action figures either, though I'm sure we did plenty of that. No, there was someone who wanted to be Han Solo, the evil kid who wanted to be Darth Vader, a gal would play Lea, and of course the kid that would later become gay would choose between C-3PO and Luke Skywalker. The ultimate monkey-see-monkey-do moment would be busting out a couple of whiffle ball bats and re-enacting a light saber fight. For any kid who grew up loving the original Star Wars movies, participating in your own light saber fight stretched from the whiffle ball bat scenario, to those spoiled kids who actually had the toy light sabers that made the cool sound (though a whiffle ball bat made the sound if you opened up the end of it and swung it real hard), and yes, even taking a pee with a buddy and crossing the streams. There's a reason why as adults when two guys accidentally say they have to go to the bathroom at the same time, the immature ones like myself say, "Watch out! Light saber fight!"

This happens in plenty of other movies too, say wanting to have a drunken karate fight after watching Crouching Tiger: Hidden Dragon, or the example I have titled this piece with, The Top Gun handshake. I don't know why, but men love cool handshakes. I have sweaty palms and am a lefty, so I've never been a big handshake guy. After the release of Top Gun, if you were to give someone a high five, you had better be there on the low end too, so you could be just like Goose and Maverick playing volleyball on the beach. When you're younger, the high five itself is something you do in sports, and is always acceptable within the sports setting. I don't want to go Jerry Seinfeld here, but once you leave the realms of childhood and sports, the high five is a socially awkward event. You really can't leave someone hanging, but at the same time, who are you as a person to be giving someone a high five? Sure, reacting to a prospective high five by glaring at the person like they may be handicapped may seem like the proper thing to do, but that's pretty mean. Besides, someone who goes for the high five is probably much closer to the IQ Mendoza line than you think, and not giving it to them may push them below the line, and that's really not a nice way to treat handicapped people. You have to encourage them, no? Make them feel like they're legitimately part of normal society?

Worst part is, when you return the high five, that sound you here is really your IQ dropping. It's a lose-lose situation for both parties no matter what. I was at a hockey game recently and witnessed something quite phenomenal. During the third period the game got really exciting. People started banging on the glass when players were abound, and you could tell something was in the air. The home team erased a two goal deficit toward the end of the game, and scored the game winner with a second left. It was one of those great stories you hear about. These are the times when the high five is most likely to occur, and even I, your humble narrator, after a few beers mixed with exciting home team sports will return a high five request from a complete stranger. However, there were these people that knew each other well in front of us, got really drunk and were doing everything a stereotypical sports fan would do during the game, be it, swearing in front of children, taunting the opposing players and certainly ordering as many over-priced beers as possible. Funny thing happened though. When that last goal was scored, one buddy went for the high five with his other buddy and the dude left him hanging. It was awesome. The guy who went for it looked like a complete fool, whereas the other looked Jon Bender cool. I was in awe. There is hope for this awkward situation.

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