Monday, January 01, 2007

Promise Fulfilled, High Five

A few nights ago a friend turned to me and said, “Promise me something.”

“For you, anything,” I said, wiping the sarcasm from my lips.

“Write about this night.”

So I am writing about that night. Which is unfortunate because nothing of a particularly mentionable nature occurred. Different people have different measures of what is mentionable and what is not. Writing is editing the world down into a few mentionable sentences. I guess bad writing is the same, but the wrong sentences. There are many to choose from.

When I visited the restroom of the restaurant, a young man slammed the door open from within just as I reached for the handle. “Sorry,” he said. Alright. I guess he was talking to the door, or apologizing to the restaurant in general. Like when the Incredible Hulk throws a school bus at a liquor store because he got a parking ticket, and just can’t control his raging green self. He was apologizing because he couldn’t control his rage against the door. He must have run into some problems at the toilet.

I talked to a friend from a while back who was recently hit by a car. She was not in a car, you understand, but was hit by one regardless. Like Wile E. Coyote. She broke a couple of legs and a few other things, I think. You must respect someone who laughs at broken legs and slight brain damage. But the brain damage was probably why she was laughing. It’s temporary damage.

There are two possible reactions to getting hit by a car. You can depress yourself at the absurd lack of luck in it, and harvest pity like ears of corn, or you can laugh, and once you are no longer comatose, joke. You can react with the blunt and simple realization that reenacting Frogger does not benefit anyone, but is sort of funny. And while it is an unfortunate occurrence, it is only one occurrence among many, ending nothing and starting others, as long as you are still living. That’s a small detail. She will be forever plagued by metal detectors bleeping at gears and widgets within her leg, but that is all.

There is no new year moral here, but happy new year.

Oh, I remembered something relevant to that night. My lack of respect for the ‘high five’ gesture. I’ll be brief so as to not unconsciously quote Seinfeld.

A victorious slapping of hands? Like cooperative applause for oneself? Okay. No thanks. Worse than any single high five is a repeated five soon after the first, for whatever reason. For scoring that three pointer or getting to level 99 on your electrogame. It has a diminishing value. It’s barely a high one if you’ve already high fived in the previous 24 hours.

Once, when saying goodbye to an acquaintance at the end of a quarter, I was high fived as the culmination of ten weeks of extensive work. It was as if to say, I don’t know you well enough to hug you, but I do wish you the best, so swiftly feel my hand. Fast like a sniper handshake.

Another time, working late in a bookstore, my coworkers and I were done cleaning early and ready to close shop. The manager wanted to do some midair chest bumps to celebrate our efficiency, and proceeded to. I did not participate in that. It is essentially a full body high five. Though I wanted to maintain a haughty dignity about myself, I also feared that my glasses would go flying and shatter into dangerous shards of Lenscrafters plastic. I don’t remember what I said, but I surely glared at them with a proud evil eye, assuring them that I was far too civilized, nearly royal in a delusional way, to voluntarily collide.

The only real appropriate use of the high five is to anyone who is less than five years old, as they may very well find value in the five. Sarcastic high fiving is also an allowable usage. High five.

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the end of something.