I have reached the end of being cool. This is not something that is easy to admit, but it is something that needs to be acknowledged and accepted. Whatever level of coolness that I had once achieved in my life is gone. I am cool no more.
Oh to be sure there are lesser degrees of cool that I can still achieve. I can be cool “for a dad” or cool “for an old guy” … coolness with caveats if you will. But never again will I simply be cool in and of itself.
For instance: I can never again be the lead singer in a band, thin and serpentine and sultry; the focus of attention or adoration. I can however be the manager of the band, still go on tour and direct and influence the sound. That’s a kind of cool.
I can never be the leading man in a romantic comedy, the handsome love interest, lusted and sought after. I can be the quirky, old neighbor who dispenses wisdom through humorous innuendo. That’s cool, I guess.
I can’t be the brave adventurer on a hero’s quest; the one who sets off in the wilderness and takes up arms against the dark-hearted foe. I can be the wizened mentor who guides the hero along his path and whose words will be recalled when a time of great need arises. That’s cool.
So yes, I have reached the time of no longer being straight-up cool. How did it happen? Is it simply age? Oh, I’m sure age is a factor but I’m not convinced it is simply age that makes one uncool.
Look at someone like, say, Johnny Depp. He’s still cool and he’s older than me. Or Paul Newman, he was cool up until the day he died. I realize of course that I am not Johnny Depp, I am not Paul Newman. And I am fairly certain that I never will be. But these are exceptions that prove that rule.
So maybe it is attitude and swagger? Perhaps that is what makes you cool? Again, I’m not sure. I know a lot of people, both older and younger than myself that are filled with attitude and swagger. They are not cool in the least and are simply douchebags.
Maybe it is how we are perceived. Social norms change all the time after all. What was once considered cool is later thought of as laughable and lame. Like a song you once though was the pinnacle of genius but after repeated listening just becomes tedious and annoying. If this is the case we can all look forward to a nostalgic coolness resurgence. Everything old becomes new after all.
Perhaps it is a maturity level that is achieved. A respectability quotient is attained at the cost of coolness. A grand sacrifice of coolness for the greater good. As much as I would like this to be true I feel that it may just be wishful thinking.
The real truth is there is no real reason why we stop being cool at some point. It just happens. You acknowledge it, you embrace it and deal. And it’s not all that bad.
You see there was once a time when I was too cool. I was too cool to dance to pop music in front of other people. Too cool to laugh out loud in a crowded room. Too cool to be vulnerable, to accept other people’s help. Too cool to be humble, to admit I might be wrong. I was too cool to paint for the joy of painting, thinking I always had to be important and profound. And once I was too cool to share my writing with anyone.
I’m just not that cool anymore.
No, my coolness has ended. I’ll just have to live with that.