Am I Cool?
Sometimes I just like to find a comfy chair, settle in, and ponder life’s mysteries. I think about ranch dressing and why the person who invented it hasn’t been given a major award; I wonder why my favorite song only comes on the radio as I pull into my driveway; and I also wonder if the people on House Hunters International know how bad they make Americans look when they move to Paris with a $800 budget and get indignant because what’s in their price range doesn’t come with crown moulding and acreage.
Today a new question popped into my head as I sat in my comfy chair: am I cool? Ah yes, coolness, that indefinable, abstract, yet so desirable Fonzie quality so many people spend their lives trying to obtain. I decide to start at the beginning to track any indication that I was ever cool.
I know I wasn’t cool in elementary school; my mom cut my bangs straight across my forehead and I wore Sesame Street shirts up until fourth grade. I also spent the better part of fifth grade pretending I was the owner of twelve tiny horses that lived in the pockets of my jeans. No, cool is definitely not the right word to describe that kid.
In junior high I discovered blue eyeliner and Sun-In hair lightener. To be clear, I didn’t just use these products, I overused them, then I used a bit more. I looked like a scarecrow with two black eyes. Add to this equation the fact that I secretly still played with my Cabbage Patch Doll and I can safely say I was not cool in junior high.
By the time I got to high school, I was already addicted to Aqua Net hairspray and books by S.E. Hinton. I spent half of my time in the library reading by myself and the other half of my time avoiding eye contact with people. I went to one party in high school where I drank two wine coolers then threw up in front of the local Del Taco as my friends (as well as the other Del Taco patrons) looked on in horror. Ok, so I was undoubtedly not cool in high school either.
My cool little trip down memory lane takes me on to college then into my twenties and thirties, but still no detectable sign of that illusive coolness anywhere. I decide to take this issue to the one person I know is the utmost authority on all things cool, my six-year-old daughter.
“Hey kiddo, do you think Mommy is cool?” I ask with solemnity.
She looked up from her coloring book and gazed at me thoughtfully then she answered with absolute authority, “No.” She kept staring at me for just a minute longer, a smile growing on her face, then she returned to coloring.
I knew the answer to that question a long time ago, but something in the way my daughter looked at me let me know that maybe I am something better than cool.
And that’s fine with me.