I don’t think I’ve ever been cool. Even when I’ve done something that might have looked like a one way ticket to Coolsville, I knew that pretty soon I would wake up back in Uncoolsville for reasons beyond my understanding.
I know for a fact that Cool isn’t a figment of my imagination. Tony Hawk is cool. Sting is cool. Toms Cruise & Hanks are cool in different ways. Skateboarding is cool, except when I do it, and for two weeks of the year at the end of June tennis is pretty cool too.
So cool exists, and it’s a nice place to be, except that I’ve discovered that trying to be cool is very counter-productive.
A couple of years ago this May, myself and Fliss took a weeks holiday in LA. During the week we went to visit Universal Studios there. Now that place is cool. And, for me, the coolest thing about it is the Back to the Future ride, complete with a replica of the DeLorean sitting outside the building.
Since the day in 1985 when I’d first heard of the movie, I wanted to be near that car. I wanted to sit in it, to look around inside, to examine the time circuits and the Flux Capacitor ’til my heart was content. Of course, over time (ironically) my desire had waned slightly, but upon seeing that car on that beautiful day in California I done the worst thing I possibly could have done.
I tried to be cool.
I pretended it didn’t really matter to me. I acted as if the yearning I’d felt to be near that car (or at least a replica of it) wasn’t important, and it would be better for me to just quickly stand beside the car, for Fliss to reel off a quick shot on our fairly average digital camera, before we swept off to enjoy other parts of the massive site that Universal Studios occupies.
A week or so later, half way round the world back in London, there was no sign of the one picture of me beside that car. Somehow it had been deleted from the floppy disks which the camera stores its digital pictures on.
To be honest, and completely uncool about it, I was gutted. Why did I have to be cool? Why could I not just allow myself to go a little bit mental – to gush over the DeLorean, to take a whole film full of shots of that car, with a real camera rather than our cheapo digital one. We had gotten to the studios at an obscene time in the morning – it was virtually empty – I could have spent thirty minutes snapping away at the time machine, posing like seven year old kid if I’d wanted.
But no. I had to be fucking cool, take one shot and then walk away as if it didn’t matter. Sixteen long years I’d waited and I blew it by trying to be cool.
This, to me, is a glaring example of what happens when you try to be something you’re not. I’m not cool – I probably never will be, and in trying to be cool I’m only going to regret the feeble attempt at a later date. Just like then.
So… assuming “president” Bush hasn’t gotten the country nuked to rubble before I can go to LA again, I’m going back to Universal Studios, I’m going to find that DeLorean and I’m going to reel off shots of that shiny fake time machine like Kodak are sponsoring every single uncool moment.
And twenty years later when I’m sitting looking at those photos. I’m going to be thinking “Cool!”
Maybe cool isn’t something we need to aspire to be anyway. Maybe cool is something we are when we’re living in the moment. And if that’s the case, then every single one of us gets to be cool at some point without even trying.
How cool is that?!