on Being Cool

Why is something cool? Why does that slinky slate of a dark curves, elongated over a pitch of floating clouds, permeated with blips of fleeting light seem so, so cool? Was that sentence cool, or was I trying too hard? Maybe trying too hard eviscerates cool, and the truly cool are the ones that don’t have to try at all. Maybe they just hide their trying so well in the cloak of coolness that you just think they aren’t trying. Maybe I think too much.

There are certain historical figures that are cool – Steve McQueen, Ernest Hemingway, Miles Davis. They exude their coolness from beyond the grave, pushing it out into the future like a long exhale of smoke. Smoking used to be the epitome of cool, but is it still? Do the cool kids still smoke, watching with indifference as the geeks wobble by them with jealous yearning. Or are the geeks the cool ones now, expressing coolness by their ability to perform mathematical calculations while simultaneously making biting comments on pop culture.

I sometimes think I’m cool, and then come to my senses when I realize I’m far from. My worn denim, black t-shirt, and sunglasses don’t make me cool, but just create a bubble of superficial coolness around me. Deep in my heart the coolness fades to black and I’m still the same shy teenager I was 15 years ago. Yet I strive to fully embrace coolness, to make it part of me like a Zen master contemplates infinity. I watch others move with their own coolness, fully certain in their own bodies, their own minds.

Coolness is confidence. It’s an unending relaxation in all social situations. It’s rebellion from the norm. It’s peace with one’s past, present, and future. It’s style, to a degree. It’s everything that pushes that person to the heights of their creative powers, and ignores all the ones who don’t believe.

Coolness is in other’s minds, but it’s also in one’s own mind. The truly cool are cool within themselves, and that glows from the inward to the outward. The coolness is part of their being and after awhile they don’t even realize it’s there. They simply live their life as they would want to, pushing upwards through existence. To become like them you must feel cool, walk cool, sleep cool, act cool, eat cool… but above all else, simply be cool.