Finding Your Cool

If I May

I can’t stand when someone tries to Jedi mind trick me into thinking that something is not only acceptable but actually preferable by vouching for its relative coolness.

Recently, a furniture delivery guy banged around a new dresser in my foyer, simultaneously scuffing the wall and the piece. As soon as he realized I saw him do it, he blurted, “It’s cool, man. It’s cool.”

Actually no. The Fonz is cool. Bugs Bunny is cool. Mocking people who try to replace Cool with a nonsensical stand-in word like Phat or Fetch is cool — but breaking my stuff? No. Sorry, Gigantor, That is most certainly not cool.

Understanding Cool

Despite what teeny-bopper movies will have you believe, coolness is very Yoda-esk. When it comes to being cool, you either Do or Do Not — trying lands you firmly in the NOT category.

As with being, so goes everything else. If asked in an honest moment, most people would instantly recognize the relative coolness of any action, event, or object. Sure, they might try to grift you into believing something is or isn’t cool, but even while they are doing so, deep down, the truth is known. Here’s that truth.


Actions are the easiest to assess. For example, lying, cheating, and stealing aren’t cool. Neither is being mean. Coolness comes from being kind, being humble, and lending strength in whatever form you possess to those in need.


Events are harder of course, because, in some cases, their coolness is temporary. In the world of rhythmic movement, sock hops were cool; then, it was breakdance battles; now, well, I have no idea. The trick is not to get caught up in the specifics. Dancing wildly with friends, slowly with a special someone, or alone Footloose style (be it in a barn or a bedroom) is always cool.


Objects seem equally challenging to categorize, but the task gets easier if you look below the surface. Fads are fun but they aren’t cool. Sorry, skinny jeans. Take comfort in knowing your place in obscurity is shared with everything from Cabbage Patch Kids to Fidget Spinners. Cool objects are timeless and personal. See broken in blue jeans, your father’s watch.

And What of People?

As for the coolness of individual humans…well, if you’re asking, chances are you’re SOL. But don’t worry, you’re not alone, and dorks make good company.

As for me, I’m the type of guy who would walk into a phone booth and turn into Clark Kent. My secret identity is nerd, normal, nothing to see here, folks. And the trouble is, it’s not so secret.

But here’s the trick: being a Kent should officially make me a non-cool, beta-male, but owning that essence keeps the jury out of the sun and in eternal deliberations. That, ironically enough, is very cool indeed. 

The Verdict

So what’s cool? That’s easy. Cool is accountability — the simple act of owning who you are and what you do. Nothing is cooler than being yourself. (Unless you’re an asshole. That’s not cool.)

About Tim: By day I write about work / life issues. By night I pen philosophical fiction, opinion, and snarky humor. Enjoyed the article? Then check out for more.


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