You missed a holiday yesterday. No, nothing to do with Easter or anything. April 17 has been proclaimed as National High Five Day since 2002. Yup. High Five. It has its own holiday. Don’t misunderstand, the banks were open. The mail was delivered. The federal government did stupid things. It was one of those odd made-up holidays like National Asparagas Day or Denim Vest Week or whatever else gets declared. But there is something important about National High Five Day, after all we’re all given and/or received a high five. I’m guessing that not everyone has a denim vest or munch on asparagas.

Now it could be that you’ve been given a high five and not realize that was what its called. I hope you haven’t been on the receiving end of a high five without raising your hand. That could result in a flattened nose or a bruised forehead. Anyway, a high five is the hitting of upraised palms, usually in a manner of celebration. The sad part is that the high five peaked in popularity around the time National High Five Day began. Twelve years ago, the high five was on top of the world. Since then, it has fallen to the fist bump. Today, the first bump is especially geared toward the obsessive-compulsive germophobe who don’t want to touch the icky palm area of someone else’s hand. These are the same people who carry wet wipes and hand sanitizer, and occasionally a Hazmat suit.

What historical record of the high five that can be found suggests that the high five began in 1977 during a Dodgers baseball game when Dusty Baker hit his 30th homer of the season. After rounding the bases and stepping on home, he beaded for the dugout. Teammate Glenn Burke was coming up next and Baker went over to greet him. Burke raised his hand as Baker and approached, and not knowing what to do, Baker smacked Burke’s hand. There is was. The high five. Personally, I think the real first high five was probably between some kid and his little brother. After all, a high five is merely an elevated version of its predecessor, the “give me five” move that every toddler learns early on. I’m guessing that one day, Big Brother was tired of Kid Brother wanting to give him five, so he held his hand up high thinking it was out of reach of the little squirt. Then the little brother jumped or climbed a ladder or put on a Superman costume and flew high enough to hit Big Brother’s hand and, voila! (That’s French for miniature fiddle) the high five was born.

I did find notes on the Internet (so they MUST be true) to several high five variations. One, the low five is documented in 1938 and even earlier if you believe the story that Al Jolson did it in The Jazz Singer as a version of what was referred to as slapping skin. There is also the air five which is more like a no-contact high five. Yes, it’s the high five you can give to someone on the other side of the stadium. I’m thinking the germophobe prefers the air five to the fist bump, but I couldn’t find an Internet expert to back me up.

There. Now you know more than you ever wanted to know about the high five. Consider it my gift to you, my friend who missed the April 17 National High Five festivities. Now you know all about it! C’mon, high five! Don’t leave me hangin’!