I remember moving from Indiana to Alaska when I was 8. My brother was at least 13, and he was already under the assumption that high-fiving anyone over the age of nine was so very unacceptable. I still remember one of our interactions with a Church elder shortly after arriving in Alaska. The gentleman raised his hand to give my amazing Brother a high five and Ty looked at him like he was from Mars.
You don’t… High five… Big kids. At all. Nada. Get with the program.
Even at 8, I remember thinking that my brother could’ve loosened up a bit and smirked later. I even remember thinking I’d never be that hard on the people I was around. I mean, let’s face it, the elder was at least in his late thirties. He was just trying to be cool. He was too old to remember how. (Back then, my analytical cynicism was never spoken— but oh my heavens did it exist!)
I should’ve known that God would wait a very, very, very long time and then make me eat my words. Cuz that’s the big God humor-like thing to do.
In Alaska, we don’t do the whole Chick and/or bromance handshake thing. We high-five. Its the cool thing to do. If we’re really trying to be gangsta, we “pound it”. Everyone. From ages 2-102… But we do not do the, “shake, clap, smack, snap, flick… ‘Ahhhhh-yeaaaah!'”-thing. That’s weird. If most people in Alaska do it, they’re being smart a… Ah, I mean smart aleks.
In Indiana, 17 years later, apparently they do both high-fives AND handshakes. A student came up to me and went to do the whole, “shake, clap, smack, snap, flick… ‘Ahhhhh-yeaaaah!'”-thing.. And my adorable li’l paper weight of a right hand just kinda.. didn’t move when my friend thought it should. That would be because the thing people think is a right hand on this spunky body ain’t a hand. It’s a humility builder.
Conclusion- handshakes are a GREAT test if you suspect that your peer, colleague or client may have cerebral palsy. If they don’t respond with even a half hearted attempt to figure out the handshake, they’re probably sending themselves into a stroke attempting to make sure their hand doesn’t do anything too embarrassing.
Next time, I’ll try and see past the stupidity and quip, “Hey! Alaska is 20years behind y’all. No one knows what these things are.” Most of them still have no idea that igloos are hunting shelters, so they’ll believe anything that has the scent of an Alaskan “fact.”