Two hands high five in front of a blue backdrop.

Things We Saw Today: Do NOT Let This Man See You High-Fiving a Child

(Or the President.)

“Arrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhh!” That’s how a grown adult man named John Rosemond chose to open an op-ed in the Omaha World-Herald, apparently feeling it was the only way to express his deep distress over what he sees as a modern scourge on civilization itself: the epidemic of adults giving high-fives to children.

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Rosemond admits that his position on the issue of inter-generational high-fives is unpopular and makes him a real-life Grinch (“or so it would seem”). His problem stems from his opinion that a high-five, being “a gesture of familiarity,” should only “be exchanged between equals.” Who constitutes an equal? “I will not slap the upraised palm of a person who is not my peer, and a peer is someone over age 21, emancipated, employed and paying their own way,” he writes.

Sorry children, as well as stay-at-home parents, unemployed adults, and anyone else not fitting this description—no high-fives from John for you. Rosemond also clarifies that he would not high-five his doctor (or patient), his judge were he to find himself on trial, his employer or employee, or the President of the United States, because these are also not his peers.

“Respect for adults is important to a child’s character development, and the high-five is not compatible with respect,” Rosemond writes. I’m having extreme trouble trying to figure out how a high five is incompatible with respect, and if it were, then why would it be something to share among peers, with whom you’re likely to want to share some sort of mutual respect. Ultimately, I’m just sitting here trying to convince myself not to let this bizarre take destroy my brain.

“Children should know their place. Adults should know their place. The more adults and children commingle as if they are equals, the more problematic become their relationships,” Rosemond concludes. “Why should a child obey an adult who high-fives him?”

The worst part of all of this comes at the end, when the author’s tag reveals that this man is a family psychologist. This is his job. Imagine taking your family to counseling, only to hear your doctor tell you your problem is too many high-fives.
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(image: Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.