Let me state at the outset that it’s not your friendly bartender’s practice to get into racial stereotyping… those are waters into which he prefers not to drop his oars. However, there are certain behaviors that come to his attention while toiling behind the stick which are not only patently absurd and ongoing, but deeply sewn into patterns defined by skin color. That said (and hopefully for the sake of sociological enlightenment), he’s decided to break his precedent and drop oars…
Now the crux of this post begins with the fact that white men can’t “high-five”, not well anyway, and certainly not very well after age forty. Whether it’s genetic, acquired, or simply the fact that middle-age dulls one’s motor skills, I’m not in a position to say, but I am in a position to state that it’s definitely a “trait”. It’s there, it’s prevalent, and on any given Sunday it’s epidemic. Yes, too many times what is well intended as a meeting of two white palms… a gleeful slapping of skin to celebrate “Touchdown!!!”, results in a whiff at the air or tangled fingers. Or worse, a thumb that is ripped out of joint requiring a splint. But that’s just the beginning.
There are also those who are truly adventurous (and truly inept as well) who attempt the uber performance I’ll call “high-five B”. This is the one that begins with a scream then a leap from the barroom floor (three to five inches, no more) with the hope of docking palms in inner space. But again, because of the prevailing whiteness of it all or whatever that dominant gene does woefully dictate, the result of this leap is equally Curly and Moe. Yes, it results in more of those tangled fingers and perhaps a bruised chest as well, and assuredly stepped-on toes upon re-entry. And to keep this jargon in astronaut-speak as I describe this event called white guys going for the “B”, “one small step for man” is not the outcome, just one giant leap backwards for white mankind!
And so now the question is begged, dear reader, what about “the brothers” in all this… why have they not fallen victim to high-five misfires? Why are they not breaking fingers and bruising chests? Well for one thing, they’ve been doing it so long so well… this “Gimme some skin!” which they invented back in the fifties along with the hep cats… that they’re actually cutting back on the whole performance. They’re keeping it simple. To them now it’s just an understated slap that silently says, “We cool!”, and a bopping up and down of the head as exclamation. Less is more… much like the great Louis Armstrong during the latter part of his career when he purposely left out notes in his presentation. For the man had been doing it so long so well that he didn’t have to play every note, he had us all conditioned, those missing notes were heard in our heads as if played. And for those of us who got his message we silently said, “We cool!”, which brings us back to the not so cool… white guys “high-five-ing” badly out in Bar-land.
Ah, but whenever man has been steeped in dilemma or catastrophe aimed at destruction, God often steps to the fore and offers a solution. Whether it’s the Salk vaccine, solar heating, or even His son Emmanuel who turned a few heads, He does his best to send His constituents an out. And so when He saw all these forty-something white guys having trouble with their high-five-ing… big fucking trouble from what He could see looking down… He saw that this was wrong and made it right. He invented the “fist bump”. That’s right, the fist bump. It’s clean, it’s simple, most important it’s safe, and if the tragic truth be known, dear reader, it might be the single most important advancement in what I’ll call “white guy cool”, since Pat Boone was told to stop covering Little Richard songs. For you simply put out your little clenched fist, bump the knuckles of the approaching fist and silently say to each other, “We cool too!” Or at least one would think…
But recently I saw a couple of guys, well under forty, by the way, who tried to pull off the fist bump during a pre-season football game. And instead of applying the “how to” kit which your friendly bartender has just succinctly laid out, one of them decided to bang out the move with a punch bump. And the other guy, the guy with the smaller fist… the one less massively sledge-like and far less bone protruding… let go a giant “Y-e-e-e-o-o-o-w-w-w!” at dastardly impact. It was truly amazing. Big Knuckles took what God gave him and blew it wide open.
“What the fuck is with you, Dude?” Small Knuckles shrilly lamented.”Why didn’t you just hit me with a fucking bottle? Damn, man!!!”
And as your friendly bartender observed this display in what can only be called awe and bartenderly wonder, he shook his head as these thoughts ran through his mind. Not only can white men not jump like they said in that movie title, now it appears that white men can’t “bump”. Good grief, Charlie Brown!
So what’s the solution, dear reader, what’s the next generation of how to do this? How can white men safely celebrate a touchdown? Do they wear thick gloves? Do they agree to put their hands in their pockets the moment their team arrives at the three yard line? Do they walk off ten healthy paces putting plenty of space between them as if in a duel?
Nah, none of those are fun. Safe, but clearly not fun. I’m thinking maybe it’s a nod when it’s all said and done. Whaddaya’ think? You know, something ESP-ish. I mean you’re still together in the venture yet the “no contact” part keeps you safely out of harm’s way. It’s as subtle and cool as an auction bid and it’s definitely far less costly, plus you’re already… whoa, wait a minute… scrap that one too, not so safe after all. There’s always that investment banker out there (the one with the two-inch pecker) who will immediately turn that nod into full-out head bump! Dear God, this is hopeless!!!
Over and out from Bar-land… see ya’ next week-end!