I’m in Cape Cod this week, on vacation with the wife, kids and some friends. Today the topic of conversation was cool. To be specific, when were you at your cool peak?
My wife, who grew up in New York City and spent many of her senior weekends rolling from party to party, cited her high school years. Personally, I thought this one over for quite some time, until my wife said, “Considering you were never cool, this might be your peak.”
Sadly, she’s probably right. I’ve never been cooler.
Some background: In elementary school, I was the nerdy loser who worshiped at the throne of baseball cards. In junior high, I once cried in the principal’s office after Andrew Honohan spilled chocolate milk on my pants. In high school, I never kissed a girl, was ignored by my biggest crush and went to the senior prom with a girl I really didn’t know (That said, she was pretty damn cute). In college, I was editor of the student newspaper (Translation: Geek). In Tennessee, where I lived out of college, I was a high school wrestling writer (Other 20-somethings spent their weekends at the bars; I spent mine watching the big Overton-Father Ryan wrestling match). So on and so onâ€”geek, nerd, geek, nerd, geek, nerd. That was me.
But now, at age 36, I’m on a cool roll. I’ve gained about 15 pounds since high schoolâ€”a much-needed dose of skeletal fill-in. I’ve got a Grade-A wife and two cool kids. I still have most of my hairâ€”but shave it for style points. While most of my friends go off to banks and doctor offices, I sit in a coffee shop; or walk the field at Fenway; or interview athletes; etc. I rarely wear shoes (I’m not right now), and when I do, they’re flip-flops. Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, I’ve connected with a lot of the popular kids from back in the day at ol’ Mahopac High School. The stronger ones have grown weaker. The better looking ones have lost hair and gained fat. The smarter ones have settled into jobs I don’t particularly envy.
Of course, there’s only one problem: At age 36, cool doesn’t mean shit. In fact, one can argue the 36-year-old who spends six paragraphs on his own blog rating his coolness is as uncool as they come.