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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Thursday, June 22, 2006

On His Coolness

We spend a lot of time in our lives wondering if we’re cool, trying to be cool, convincing ourselves we’re cool, or feeling sorry for our uncool selves.

For some, it probably never goes away, but for the lucky among those of us who’ve occasionally struggled to be cool, it gets less and less pressing as we age. We get encroachingly comfortable with the people we are, and the journey of becoming whatever’s next. And, speaking for guys, we reach an age at which coolness and frequency of getting laid don’t seem so directly correlated, anymore, and the person you’re having sex with long ago convinced herself you were at least cool enough.

Finally, you get to the point of embracing that if you pour yourself into really loving the people you love, you end up having a fabulous life, even if you’re all a total bunch of dags. (Sorry, there’s not really a good non-Aussie translation of “dag”. but it’s kind of terminally un-cool, in a goofy, lovable way.) And if your life is fabulous, well, whatever daggy-ness got you there becomes pretty damn cool. Indeed, I’ve started to convince myself that my increasing daggy-ness is a mark of just how uniquely cool I am.

But this is only the most recent era in a long history of dramatic swings and ebbs of coolness. A year younger than everyone else, I was the daggiest of the dags in high-school, then I rocketed into the cool stakes by playing in rock bands with guys way older than me. (God bless the permanent shortage of decent drummers.) I plummeted again, in my senior/final year, moving to a new school with a graduating class of 63, in which there were 62 kids who had known each other for years, plus the daggy new kid. By the end of my first year at college, though, I was back climbing the rungs of the cool, DJ-ing at one of the hippest radio stations in the US. Frosty cool.

And on and on from there, with hip highs and lame lows. Through to now, when my tattoos are simply something I share with a quarter of Americans 18-50. And the older I get, my daggy-ness seems commensurate with the amount of grey in my hair. Saltier and saltier; daggier and daggier.

This trend seems to be going in exactly the opposite direction for some of my friends. I get daggier; they get cooler. And hot damn! Some of them are muy cool. I woke up one day, and rather than celebrating with all my daggy friends, I was at a party with the cool kids. Middle-aged cool kids, perhaps, but really, really cool.

Flame-Haired Angel’s folks occasionally send us a nice fat envelope of clippings from Sydney newspapers. The article at right dropped from one recent arrival. It’s a survey of cool-ness opinion-makers commenting on Paul McCartney’s 64th birthday, and the man’s influence on cool.

Haaaaaang on! Zoom in there. Didn’t two of those people give speeches at my wedding???

Their speeches were uncomfortably similar in front of friends and family. Julia broke the news that she’d slept with Flame-Haired Angel before I did, and Bernard bragged that his first date with her preceded mine. Now, years after beating me to the sublime discovery of my Angel, they’re two of Australia’s famous taste-makers.

Straight from this immersion in coolness by association, I went and checked my e-mail. A note popped up from one of the other wedding speakers. She was just checking in from nine time zones away to bond over blow-jobs and toothbrushes.

And, all of a sudden, surrounded by the enduring love in these friendships, I felt as cool as I’d ever wanted to be.


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And for no other reason than that it’s fabulous, here’s ZeFrank, riffing on the whole concept of cool.

Duckies = cool.

* * *

Anyone who could do a decent revision of the Milton piece under the title “On His Coolness”, would earn a place in my personal pantheon of coolness.


Comments on "On His Coolness"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:07 AM) : 

Hey cool dude, any chance you could shoot us out the text of what your wedding speakers said about sir Paul at 64?


Anonymous The Mauritian said ... (11:37 PM) : 

ZeFrank has scary eyes and disturbing thoughts. Can he visit again please?


Anonymous Cathy said ... (12:32 PM) : 

Did you really think you were an uncool dag at school? Interesting that you think that, that is not my perception of how people viewed you. And you always had the coolest parties. But you're spot on with the rest of it.


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