Mike Senatore is a simple teen. A self-described average guy who plays no sports, works at a car wash, and “doesn’t really do anything special.” That’s not quite true, though. He does one special thing. He flips water bottles. And, thanks to a wildly enthusiastic high-school talent-show audience, and the internet, he’s now a legend: The Water Bottle-Flipping Guy.
A video of Senatore performing his weird talent at the senior class talent show at Ardrey Kell High School in North Carolina has taken over Twitter today. Initially shared by his friend Wesley Manning (the Josh Holz to Senatore’s “Damn” Daniel Lara), the video has been retweeted over 39,000 times. The whole thing only lasts 30 seconds, starting with Senatore’s dramatic entrance, but if the purpose of cinema is to move the soul, it is a masterpiece.
(Please watch this with the sound on. Your life will be richer for it.)
Eager to learn more about the man who made his entire senior class weep and rend their garments with joy, Select All tracked down Senatore and spoke with him over the phone. Senatore says that he took up bottle-flipping as a way to entertain himself and his “buddies” Luke and Dakota during their chemistry class junior year. “We got bored in class a lot and one day I realized if I emptied a water bottle I could flip it onto the table,” Senatore said. “We kinda got addicted to it and we tried to see how far we could throw it, how high, how many flips, stuff like that.” (His teacher was not as entertained as his buddies, though. Senatore says she regularly would ask him to “please, please just do some work.”)
From there, the bottle-flipping trend grew in popularity with his classmates, though Senatore says he was still its chief practitioner: “I just got the most bored in school out of everybody.” When senior year rolled around, he knew he wanted to perform a bottle flip for the class, but says he didn’t put anymore thought into his now-viral act until the night before.
“I’m still just trying to process it all,” Senatore said. “The minute I walked offstage and was no longer visible to anybody in the audience, I threw my fist in the air. I high-fived the first person I saw. I knew I’d nailed it, but when I watched the video after I was like ‘I didn’t realize it looked that good!’”
As for those looking to re-create Senatore’s feat, he gave us a few tips. “You’ve got to fill the bottle about one-third with water and it’s all about just practicing a lot and getting the flick of the wrist,” he said. “And my preferred brand of bottle is Deer Park because the shape of the bottle is best for flipping. “