What is Cool?

I just saw a video of a woman who looks to be about my age. She’s playing the drums. That’s putting it mildly. She’s playing “Wipe Out.” She’s freakin’ rocking that song. I mean… damn. I want to be her best friend.

She’s not dressed cool. She’s wearing a pink golf shirt and some shorts. If you saw her in Walmart pushing a grocery cart, you wouldn’t think she was cool. But this woman is so cool it’s ridiculous.

What is cool, anyway? Someone called me cool the other day and I nearly choked on my tuna salad sandwich. Me? Cool? Hardly. I have spent most of my whole life feeling weird. I can’t imagine that anyone would want to emulate me. In fact, I wouldn’t advise it.

When I was young, I thought the Fonz was cool. Now I look at re-runs of Happy Days and I think he’s kind of silly at most. He was a loveable, leather-jacketed clown who reduced women to the worst versions of themselves.

Cool for me is unique, but not weird. It’s not about popularity, but yes, it’s often envied. It’s being confident about blazing your own trail. It’s about being so comfortable in your own skin that you don’t care what other people think.

Cool is that guy who shows up at that rally for Planned Parenthood. Cool is wearing a Hawaiian shirt over a sweatshirt in the dead of winter, simply because you like the shirt. Cool is that woman who spends her time raising an endangered species of butterfly because she can. Artists are almost always cool. And anyone on the Jamaican Bobsled Team is cool by default, in my opinion. I also happen to think that anyone who has invented something that makes the world a better place is way, way cool.

Cool is also standing for things when others don’t have the courage. That anonymous guy who stood in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square? Coolest. Person. Ever. I hope he survived.

Malala Yousafzai is cool because you secretly wish you were her. At least I do. She has a moral compass that never deviates. She lives a meaningful life.

The bottom line is that cool is hard to define. You just know it when you see it. Who do you think is cool?


It would be kind of cool if you bought my book. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

4 thoughts on “What is Cool?

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