Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Why would you want to be...

...Cool?

What’s the definition of cool? Does anybody really know? Is the definition in common usage the same as the definition in the dictionary?

At dictionary.com there are 28 separate definitions of Cool. Here’s what comes closest to how we use the word every day: Cool: adjective, slang, a. great, fine, excellent, b. characterized by great facility; highly skilled or clever, c. socially adept.

These definitions are highly informative and educational and they answer so many questions, while leaving one important question still hanging in the air, namely: huh?

If those definitions are true, then where do Ugg boots fit in? What about wearing a skirt with leggings underneath? How can any of that jazz be considered cool? What about The 40/40 Club, or 9:30 Club? What makes those places cool? And Dave Chappelle? Brangellina? Are they cool? Says who?

Are you cool? If so, how do you know? Did somebody else tell you, or did you tell yourself?

I’m not cool. In absolutely no sense of the word am I cool. In fact, Cool, has a restraining order out against me. When Cool, sees me at a party, it hops into its H2 and drives away in panic and fear. It wasn’t always like this. There have been times in my life when I flirted with coolness. Times when Cool and I would hang out after school or whatever and have a nice healthy snack while watching Tiny Toons, or some such nonsense. But then I must have done something heinous, because Cool and I don’t hang out anymore. Am I bitter? Nahhhhhh. Better to have been cool and lost it, than to never have been cool at all.

So what makes a person cool? Is it a sense of humor? Nope, a lot of cool people wouldn’t know a good joke if it gave them a discount at Bergdorf’s. In fact, it sometimes seems to me that people must have had to turn in their sense of humor when they were given their powers of coolness, because they laugh at things more because they have the potential to be funny than because they are funny, (i.e. ever go to the movies where some people in the audience laugh during the set up of a joke, prior to the punchline? Well, those people are either Cool, or mentally retarded. The two are very similar.)

I refuse to believe that wearing the most hip and current clothes and clothing lines makes a person cool. After all, those people have to switch up styles depending on what’s currently “in.” They have no style of their own. They just have to take what they’re given. And even though I’ve said it before, it bares repeating: just because a clothing style is “in” doesn’t mean it’s right for you. A lot of people don’t comprehend that aspect of the equation, they think that they have to wear something because everybody else is doing it, completely ignoring the fact that they look like rejects from The Wiz. I bet that if I went up to Paris Hilton with swimming flippers, a beanie cap, a fake beard and a list with the names of four people, (whomever Paris Hilton thinks is cool*) I could convince her to dress like a diseased, bearded pirate prostitute or something. Think about it.

Why does our society celebrate cool people so much? Do we think that they’re better than us? I’m sure that if we all knew precisely how many hemorrhoids J-Lo has on her ass at any one time, she’d lose some of that popularity. After all, we all saw Brittney’s disgusting excuse for a vagina and she’s most assuredly not considered cool any more.

On the other hand, there are people who go out of their way to being the complete and total antithesis of cool. They dress in weird ways, have a vague sense of personal hygiene, bad hair cuts and socially questionable hobbies. There is one big flaw in this plan however. If a person takes too much pride in being anti-cool then they start to develop self-esteem and a strong sense of self. If the rest of society catches a glimpse of somebody enjoying themselves while not killing themselves trying to be cool, then society, (being the evil, soul-destroying thing that it is) will automatically make that person cool. Once that happens, everything that person stood for is wiped away, leaving that person with nothing. One can adapt by trying to change the game and offer new interpretations of the basic theme, (which has worked so far for hip-hop) or they can say screw it and decide to redecorate their apartment with their brains, (which, I guess, worked for Kurt Cobain.)

There was one person on t.v. that I’ve always thought was cool. And that person is Kramer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about Michael Richards, just the character he played on television, (much like I am able to separate Michael Jackson the insane person from Michael Jackson’s music.) Kramer didn’t take shit from anybody, he didn’t try to cool, nor did he try to be anti-cool. He was just himself. And though who he was as a fictional character was scary and would probably cost him several ass-whuppings in real life, he was always true to himself. Which worked for him, (though I’m sure having a hot tub didn’t hurt things either.)

I could go on for pages about the whole concept of Cool. But I’m not gonna do that. I’m just going to leave you all wondering just what makes a person, place or thing cool. And then wonder if that’s what you really want. If you decide that being Cool is for douches, then come on over to my crib and we’ll hit up some Tiny Toons, while chowing down on some Count Chocula. Who’s down?

*Which brings me to another point, the people that we consider to be the coolest in society; who do they think is cool? When you’re at the top of the coolness pyramid, who’s left? I bet that the cream of society’s crop secretly think that the goofiest people in America are cool. Which would mean that William Hung, Rosie O’Donnell and George W. Bush are all on Jay-Z’s two-way address list. How weird is that?

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