Cool. Not Cool.

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So I recently had a chat with a 13-year old about cool and not cool.

He told me that, because I write books and appear on TV, I’m somewhat cool; a 7 1/2 on the 10 scale. That sounded OK to me, but I wanted to know how one rises up the chart from meh to so-so- to super cool. He explained to me that wearing American Eagle helps a lot. It is, after all, the coolest clothing, worn by all the cool people. It also helps to have a strong iPhone presence, via Instagram.

“Being an adult makes it harder,” he said. “A lot harder.”

As we spoke, I became a bit sad. I remembered how badly I once wanted to be cool, and how awfully I failed. I was a cool failure in all respects—looks, fashion, friends. Awful. And yet, the search for cool (and need to portray cool) was awful. So much pressure to adhere to the opinions and thoughts of others. Something becomes cool, after all, when thousands upon thousands of people place their personal opinions aside and opt to follow the leader. That means desperately trying to keep up with a pack of folks who got there first. Ain’t easy.

I actually think, in 2014, a 7 1/2 is way too high. I’m about a 3. I dress like shit. My hair is fading. I spend my days in coffee shops. I’ve only got a couple of apps and I am starting to hate my phone. I worry too much, and I don’t smell especially fragrant.

But I’m happy.