Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Story of the High Five

As you know from my last post, we are really getting into the whole high five thing this year. Any opportunity to high five, we take it. We make anyone who comes to our office do a high five. And we take their picture. It's become a bit of an obsession.

If you know me at all, you know that I take my obsessions very seriously. I can tell you exactly where and how to get a panda as well as how much it will cost you. I can tell you every detail about the ABC Family drama Pretty Little Liars, including how the show differs from the novels (which I have never read by the way). I can give you a detailed account of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln including where the bullet entered his brain and what the blood stained pillow they laid his head on looks like. In fact almost any conversation that begins with the question, "Hey Aislinn, what kinds of things are you interested in?" pretty much always ends with the question, "So... Why do you know that?"

I'm not telling you this to freak you out (although I'm guessing at this point many of you may already be questioning any future interactions with me). I'm telling you this so that, when I say I am obsessed with high fives, you can trust that I've done my research on the topic.

So, you might ask, when-where-how did someone decide that slapping each other was going to be the new symbol of elation and celebration? The most concise answer is: it began with sports.

Somewhere between 1977 and 1979 athletes began high fiving each other as a physical expression of "good play" or "great game." There are two common stories placing the origin of the high five - either could be true. The first is that in 1977 the Dodgers blew out the Astros on the last day of the regular baseball season and to celebrate, Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke slapped palms. The second is that, in 1979, the University of Louisville basketball team started high fiving in practice. The gesture can be seen on highlight reels from that season and commentators were recorded using the phrase "the high-five handshake" to describe the teammates' interactions.

Here is the most important thing that I take away from all this. No matter which story is the true origin of the high five, it certainly originated in one of the decidedly American past times. The only way it could be more American is if a story turned up about two football players slapping hands on a first down. Which makes our world record attempt all the more perfect. On the holiday that celebrates the birth of America, we will show the world that Greensboro is the international capitol for the truly American expression of celebration. What a fabulous coincidence.

For more info on the world record attempt you can visit or our brand new Facebook page! Go ahead and "like" our page while you're there for updates as we get closer to the big day. Until then, High Five!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

High 5 on the 4th!

My friends all say that I tell the longest stories of all time. I have to include every detail of how exactly every event in the timeline of said story transpired, usually to result in a conclusion like, "So anyway, it was the best sandwich in the world." This story is a little like that.

As most of you know, last year at the Fun Fourth we attempted to break the world record for must drummers doing a five minute drum roll at the same time. While that was not a complete failure - we did break the national record - we were unable to reach our goal (said in the most public relations-y way possible). So when we set out to start planning this year's festival, a few of us had the idea to re-try this world record thing, but this time with something way more simple. And what could be easier than the classic palm slapping expression of excitement known as the high five?

As it turns out, there are a lot of easier things. We discovered that the world record for most people doing a simultaneous high five was in the couple thousand range. Seemed simple enough. We had over a thousand people doing the drum roll, so theoretically it would be really easy to get a few thousand people together to do a high five. I mean come on.

However, we were not the first to think "Why the heck is this record so low?! We can break that without even trying." Side note, let this be a life lesson that anytime you think something that should be hard is actually easy, you are wrong. You just haven't figured out why it is hard yet. Anyway, so as we are starting to get excited about making Greensboro the High Five Capitol of the World, the people at were thinking, "We have a gojillion dollars, let's spend it on breaking this high five record thing at a basketball game in Las Vegas." Which they did indeed do just a few short weeks ago.

Here is where this story sidetracks a little more. We get an email from the world record powers that be saying "Yo, the record is now 5,304 people, so we hope you can break that." It was a little nicer than that, but only a little. Of course this basically puts a stop to our attempt. Our plan to break the record in Festival Park was squashed because 5,304 people, plus volunteers, plus bathrooms, plus room to breath, do not all fit in Festival Park. So we met up to discuss the options, honestly with many of us thinking the only solution was just to cancel the whole thing. In the midst of this meeting, we decided to YouTube the attempt to see exactly how they did it.

While watching this video, we noticed that the announcer was saying "A new world record of 3,504 people!!!" At this point you might be thinking, where have I seen that number before recently? The answer is a few lines up in this blog post, except with two of the numbers switched. Which is clearly what happened to the world record people when they sent us that email. So after sending the video over to them, they were able to confirm that the number to beat is 3,504 people doing a simultaneous high five. Life lesson number two: Never believe a world record until you see the evidence.

And now, the point of this story, which I am sure you have all been waiting for with annoyed looks on your faces. We are finally ready to announce that an attempt to break the world record for most people doing a simultaneous high five will be taking place Wednesday, July 4, 2012 at 11 a.m. in Festival Park. We need participants and volunteers and everybody can do it, so be sure to mark your calendars and sign up!

Here's the website: Tell everyone you know...not this whole long story, but to come out this Fourth of July and break a world record!