Happiness is the best, isn’t it? Whether there’s an obvious reason for it, or you just woke up in the right frame of mind. Happiness just feels good.
This is obvious, of course. What’s a little less obvious is the reasoning behind some of the ways we chooseto express this glee.
For instance, I would really like to know who was the first person to think:
Sweet baby monkeys, I am so completely thrilled with what just happened that I can think of no verbal way to express this feeling of utter joy. Nay, words will not do. The only manner in which to show this level of merriment is to smash my limbs together!
I have to assume that the first person who ever started clapping got a lot of “what the hell” looks from those around him.
Of course, once this milestone was reached, it opened a plethora of doors.
The slow clap, for one. Who in the world doesn’t enjoy a good, solid slow clap? The origin of this one is pretty easy to figure out. I mean, once clapping was a thing, it was only a matter of time before some intrepid human thought:
Nope, just not dramatic enough. I have joy, you see. But mine is a deep, abiding joy. Nothing that can be expressed so simply in a random burst of excitement. It must be nursed, it must build. For at the top of that mountain, you will see the light that I now see. And we will be together in our jubilance.
But what about once we’re together?
I’m so happy with you. You’re just the best. Wait? You think I’m this best too?!? I can feel the elation growing. My fingers are tingling. But it seems wrong just to clap, almost like I’m leaving you out. I know! I’ll take one of my limbs and smash it against one of yours!
And thus the high-five was born, paving the way for low-fives, double high fives, air fives and fist bumps. Also, of course, the “Up high/Down low/Too slow.” But you’ve got to take the bad with the good, I guess.
You know what? I still don’t know exactly why all this hand smacking started, but thinking about it sure has put me in a good mood. How about you?