The Fist-Bump Is Dead

I don’t remember what exactly killed the high-five, but it didn’t die gracefully, that’s for sure.

In fact, I think the high-five suffered mightily. In its waning years of popularity, everyone high-fived each other. Politicians high-fived their constituents. Salesmen high-fived their customers. Principals, teachers and counselors gave high-fives. Instead of being the standard greeting or congratulatory gesture of the young, it was adopted by everyone, including our parents and other authority figures. And just like that, it became uncool to high-five.

Thankfully, a successor came along. The Fist-Bump gave us all hope. It was actually more subtle and understated than a high-five, since it didn’t require a protracted arm extension and audible hand-slapping. This of course, made it cooler. Plus, the fist-bump utilized a fist instead of an open hand. Again, cooler.

Eventually, the fist-bump even became a litmus test to detect who was “with it.” When someone stuck their hand up anticipating a high-five, maybe you gave them one, but you always looked over your shoulder to make sure nobody else was watching you do it. After all, better to “leave someone hanging” than be seen doing the outdated high-five. Seriously, publicly performing a high-five became the coolness equivalent of wearing a D.A.R.E. t-shirt after elementary school.

Yes, at one time it seemed like the fist-bump would carry us well into the next millennium. But that is no longer the case. Sadly, I’m here to proclaim that the fist-bump is dead. And Howie Mandel killed it.

Maybe you know Howie Mandel. He’s the host of one of the worst TV shows ever created, which is really saying something. His show “Deal or No Deal” was the first game show that clearly required no discernible skill or intelligence whatsoever to play. Of course, “National Bingo Night” debuted last month on ABC and instantly lowered the game show intelligence bar even further.

Anyway, Howie Mandel adopted the fist-bump as his way to greet and congratulate contestants on the show. The only problem is, he isn’t doing the fist-bump to be hip. He’s doing it because he is “germaphobic,” and figures that a fist-bump will spread fewer germs than a handshake. All of this is true, by the way.

To recap, let’s review what the fist-bump has now become intertwined with:

1. It is showcased nightly on a moronic game show.
2. It is being popularized by Howie Mandel.
3. It is deemed a more sanitary alternative to the traditional handshake.

Seriously, how can the fist-bump possibly survive that triumvirate of lameness?

I don’t know, I hope the fist-bump isn’t completely dead. But, I think we are safe to assume it is on life support. Frankly, after watching what the high-five endured, I think we should just pull the plug and shed a tear. It’s the humane thing to do.

Insect Strength

“With great power comes great responsibility…”

Someday, I can envision a lecture with my son beginning with those words.

Like the dad from TeenWolf, I will one day be forced to council my teenage son on how to manage his superpowers. I’ll tell him that it’s ok to use these powers to excel at sports, provided he doesn’t become a ball-hog. I will say that it’s ok for him to maybe get even with a bully, as long as he doesn’t cripple the guy or something. And it’s ok to impress a girl with your powers, but just make sure she loves the real you. Finally, I will tell him to maintain his dignity, and to not be seen “surfing” or doing handstands on top of a buddy’s minivan around town. Hopefully he’ll get the message.

These are the things I’ve been thinking about since I discovered my one-year old son possesses superhuman strength.

The other day, he grabbed onto a heavy chair in our kitchen. He pulled it away from the counter, and pushed it across the floor with ease. This chair happens to be twice as tall as he is, and easily weighs twice his body weight. And then it dawned on me. There is no way I could perform a comparable feat, pushing around an object over twelve feet tall and weighing close to 400 pounds.

This is just one example. He routinely pushes, lifts, pulls and topples items around the house that are gigantic relative to his size. And being a baby, he doesn’t know that he shouldn’t be able to manhandle these items. He quite literally doesn’t know his own strength.

And I hypothesize that, as he gets older, he’ll only get stronger. Whereas now he can manipulate items twice his body weight, in a few years it will be five or six or even ten times his body weight. He’ll have full-on insect strength.

Now, as far as superpowers are concerned, insect strength is a good one to have, as it lends itself well to superhero pseudonyms. While comic book characters have already claimed the best names, there are still lots of options out there. For instance, he could craft an appropriate costume and go by the name “Locust-Man” and bring forth the ultimate famine… on crime.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, as crime fighting is years in the future. My biggest concern will be his formative years. While I initially looked at his gifts with great excitement, figuring that I will no longer have to watch “World’s Strongest Man” competitions on ESPN to witness feats of strength, I now realize the difficulties I will encounter in raising this boy.

At only one year of age, he is already physically stronger than my wife, and routinely overpowers her during bath time or diaper changes. I used to laugh at these spectacles at first, but now I have sobered up to the fact that my days as an authority figure are numbered.

If I attempt to take a toy away from him, will he instead rip my arm out of the socket? The first time I tell him to clean his room, will he hoist the family car over his head and heave it at me?

Despite these fears, I am committed to raising my son in a house of discipline. Ideally, with the right counseling, I can teach Charlie to use his gifts for the betterment of mankind, and not the pursuit of evil. I just need to find some type of Cryptonite to help maintain discipline, as I don’t think he’ll respond well to being grounded.

Confessions of a Netflix Freak

Summer is here and we all know what that means. It’s that special season where all Netflix addicts hang extra thick curtains in the windows to block out the natural light. Thankfully, I didn’t take my window treatments down last summer so all I had to do was update them a bit for the new year. (Rubberstamp Madness magazine has some great tips on how to spice up last year’s window treatments, if you haven’t seen the latest issue yet!)

One of the best parts about being a Netflix member is how fast the service is evolving. I feel like I am a part of movie distribution history. I’m no Rosa Parks but by adding my voice to the chorus of other Netflix members’ voices, I feel like movies will continue to arrive to me in unique and varying ways. This is empowering. It might just be the biggest social movement I’m ever apart of. Today it is through the mail, tomorrow it will be downloaded. In five years, I’m pretty sure I will be Netflixing Woody Allen’s DNA and just creating the movies for myself in my centrifuge.

But the absolute best part of being a Netflix member is the goal we all share, the one thing that brings all of us members together; our insufferable desire to scam, scrimp, rob, cheat, copy, burn, and screw over Netflix. By god, we really make them earn that $20 a month, don’t we! I’ll be damned if I ever have to put a movie on my queue twice. No, I would rather buy a hundred hard-drives, a thousand blank dvds, and laboriously spend hours following the hacking career of Jon Lech Johansen than reorder my fucking queue! All to squeeze every last movie I can out of the service!

OK, I am not joking anymore. I will tell you some of the things I have done in the past to prove my point.

1. Bought a DVD burner, blank DVD discs, and got the software for my mac from an illegal file-sharing network in order to burn a copy of every Netflix that arrived. Total cost: $150 and possibly my freedom. I was going to build a personal library that would rival Netflix’s own collection. This lasted about 2 months. None of the burned DVDs play now. Apparently, human breath scratches a blank DVD. Eventually, I realized Netflix is the library. I am just paying for my library card. And with all the new movies that they offer, I rarely want to rewatch a movie I’ve already Netflix’d.

2. Entered into a movie sharing pact with two friends who were also Netflix members to “pool our queues” if you will. That way, we wouldn’t have to all get the big blockbusters that we all wanted to see, just one of us would get it and then share it around. Total cost: $0. Total number of days this lasted: 3. My friend sat on the movie I gave her and didn’t watch it or return it, therefore effectively logjamming my precious queue for almost a week in Netflix time*. (*Netflix time is defined as regular time + the amount of time it takes to receive the next movie in your queue after you put the old movie in the mailbox.)

3. I’ve tried it all concerning the Netflix envelope. I’ve shoved three movies in one, one movie in three, and everything in between. I drop them in boxes all over Brooklyn, fold them, tear them, and write on them. I’ve soaked them in water, burnt off their edges, and every once in awhile I even find one that is two years old and I’ll stuff a disc in there and send it back. At this point, I am just fucking with the people at Netflix. I want to get in their heads. I am not a number baby!

Yet time after time, my new DVD arrives in the mail just the same. I’m convinced that without junk mail and Netflix, the postal service would have been abolished just minutes after email was invented. Before Netflix, I would only get one piece of mail a year and that is the birthday check from Grandma (that $25 is always appreciated, Gigi!) so I probably wouldn’t even have been the wiser had it been shuttered. But now I sit and wait for the mailman like he is delivering my college admissions acceptance letter, all in the name of quick turnaround.

Despite all this praise, I have found one person who can’t join the Netflix revolution. I bring it up now because, invariably, I know Netflix is listening and is poised to solve my friend’s dilemma. You see, he is a touring musician without a stable address. He can’t reliably have movies mailed to him. But I think I have come up with a solution. Think of an airplane flying a time sensitive mission over a very long distance. Classic scenario for a little aerial refueling also called air-to-air refueling. In the same spirit, I want to see a fleet of Netflix vehicles that roam the highways and byways performing vehicle-to-vehicle Netflix transfers.

“Sir, I see on your myspace page that you’ll be playing in Vermont tonight. I’ll be pulling up along side you shortly as you make your way to the venue and I was wondering if you had any last minute changes to your top three choices on your rental queue this evening?”

Knowing Netflix, the fleet is already being gassed up as I type this. We are making movie distribution history after all.