JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

When cool isn’t cool

When I was a kid, everything was about cool. Who’s cool? Who’s not cool? The kids in the smoking section, listening to Crue—cool. The QB and the cheerleaders—cool. The geek who wrote for The Chieftain, the high school newspaper—decidedly un-cool.

Over time, cool dies. Or the concept of cool dies. I’m 38. Most of my friends are in a similar age range—between 30 and 40. Here, cool doesn’t exist. I look around and have no idea which one of my neighbors was the star halfback, which one smoked pot behind the gym, which one mastered calculus and which one ran track. Who went to the prom with who? No idea.

That’s a good thing, because cool is, at this age, really stupid. I mean, what’s the point? Am I cool because I write books? Is my neighbor cool because he works at IBM? Answer: No, no. We’re just people. No cool allowed.

That said, there’s nothing less cool than a person’s feeble attempts to be cool. Like, ahem, former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley. I dig KISS, I dig Ace. But the above video is oozing pathetic—nerdy, clunky, confusing, weird, trying significantly too hard. The cycle. The black jacket. Maybe he’s being ironic, but I don’t see it.

Glub.