If you check out the Wiki page for the high five you’ll find this highly technical description:
The high five is a celebratory hand gesture that occurs when two people simultaneously raise one hand, about head high, and push, slide or slap the flat of their palm and hand against the palm and flat hand of their partner. The gesture is often preceded verbally by the phrase “Give me five” or “High five”.
The high five gesture may have slipped in to the realm of irony in the past few years due to the overall corniness of the act, but corny or not if you’re engaged in a competitive physical activity there’s a chance you’re going to high five someone at some point because the high five has been so ingrained in us as a form of shared expression with those we compete alongside with. It’s as the old saying goes: actions speak louder than words.” Why simply tell someone they’ve done a great job when you can forcefully attack a small portion of their body with just the right amount of power so that the receiver of the attack understands that you aren’t attacking them, but actually congratulating them.
In time, and within the world of sports, the high five gave way to the ass slap. Why? Who knows. I guess slapping another burly man’s rear-end can be lumped in with the high five as a celebratory act that some people just can’t help but do in the heat of competition. That, or it’s an athlete’s latent homosexuality shining through for only a brief moment on national television. I like to think of the ass slap as the consolation high five. You want to give this guy over here a high five, but he’s so jacked up over the physical feat he just performed that he completely bypassed you as you just as you were prepping your systems to engage him in a high five. So he passes you and, yeah, you can give him a pat on the back, but that’s so common. He won’t even realize you’ve hit him. And seeing as the act of a high five is inherently selfish, as having someone acknowledge you as you acknowledge them in some way validates you, you want the act to be something that will get the other guy’s attention. So, you give his ass a firm slap. The guy probably isn’t used to feeling a hand on his ass while he’s around a large group of men, so he takes notice; thus, you receive the acknowledgment you were looking for.
At some point, though, merely making contact with the hand became too weak a gesture. Why? Who knows. Maybe over the years sports became more competitive, forcing players (whether they are amateurs in a park or highly paid professionals) to up the ante in terms of showing everyone how happy they are over putting a ball in a hop or hitting a ball really far. Out of this, the chest bump was born.
Like sports in general, the chest bump is inherently primitive. It’s like the self-chest bump, where an athlete will pound on their own chest in the same way we see gorillas pound on their chests to show dominance. The chest-to-chest chest bump takes this concept one step further by having one person that really wants to pound on his own chest realize that someone on his team really wants to pound on his own chest as well. Through pheromones or subconscious mental telepathy or some other mystical man shit, the two men ram their chests together, which, really, is just more economical. It’s a time saver. “Hey, you want to bang your chest? As do I! Let’s do it together!” And so they do.
This all brings us to the latest fad in sports celebrations: the full body bump.
If you’ve been watching the NBA playoffs this past week you’ve probably seen more than a few players dash toward a teammate, leap in to the air, turn their bodies slightly, and then collide and bounce off each other.
And finally, with that explanation of the act, I get to the thesis statement of this article: why the f*ck does the full-body bump exist?
With the high-five we slapped together small portions of our bodies, as if we were passing along our joy through kinetic energy. Then we chest bumped because we were so happy that we needed to pass along this joy with more of our body’s surface area. And now we as a species are filled with so much exuberance that we have to leap in to the air and slap together as much of our body’s meat and bones as we possibly can just to express how happy we are. The high five was pretty primitive as it was, but watching two people full-body bump is like watching two fully grown retards ramming in to each other because they clearly need adult supervision, but sadly, they don’t have it. It seems like it’s the last ditch effort of a desperate person. It’s as if the people performing the full-body bump are having trouble expressing their emotions so they toss their weight and crash in to someone else because they literally have no idea what the hell to do with themselves.
I like to imagine the full-body bump took a group of athletes years to develop, and many injuries were suffered in the process. I like to think that it began with two guys running at each other at full speed. Not knowing what they should do next, both men panicked and continued to blaze their path forward until they slammed in to each other, like this dog does to this wall.
After the guys ran in to each other, they stood up, realized they had only suffered minor brain trauma, and soldiered on with their important research. One of them said to the other, “You think there’s any way for us to perform the same action and express the same level of joy, but with a higher level of tooth retention?” The other one said, “DUHHHHH-DRRRRRR-BA-DHURR-DHURRRRRR!” And then the first guy replied with, “Hm. Excellent point, Mongo. We’ll try your technique in phase-two of our trials.”
They both jumped in to the air, turned slightly, slammed against each other, and made it safely back on the ground. They invented the full-body bump. Never satisfied with their findings, they continued to push the boundaries of the post-awesome-thing-that-just-happened celebratory event by running and leaping at one-another head first. Mongo and, let’s say, Bertram, probably die soon thereafter. Cause of death: complete obliteration of the cervical spine, but mostly stupidity.