I remember what cool kids were like. Never being cool myself I still saw them around, or in movies and television shows. There were a few hallmarks of being cool that are instantly recognizable, and I am seeing them now in my son. I’m in big trouble.
HE TAKES RISKS
If you are an overly-cautious worry-wort, then you are not cool. If you must have a plan and schedule in place at all times, you are not cool. Spontaneity is the essence of cool, mixed with a hint of danger. I recall various cool people in my life, and I was always struck by how much they could get away with, or what they could bounce back from. They didn’t play it safe, and nothing slowed them down. Edward completely wiped out at the skate park the other day, and as the regulars ran over to see if he was okay, he simply shouted “WICKED!” and got back up and kept going.
OH YEAH, HE LIVES AT THE SKATE PARK NOW
“Woah, little dude is hardcore!” said a shirtless, long-haired, skateboard-holding, cool gentleman. Edward does not have a skateboard, but ever since we accidentally biked past the skate park the other day, it has become his new favorite place on earth. I, reasonably, am terrified of it. We have been back every day. Edward bobs and weaves on his bike through the mass of gigantic skaters, going over jumps, up ramps, and through the half-pipe. He’s getting better at it. He doesn’t care that he is only 6. He calls the sweaty college-aged people there “the big kids,” and he is not intimidated by them at all.
HE DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN
This is the true hallmark of a cool person. Edward does not care that he isn’t like the other skaters. He doesn’t care that everyone else is older, or has a skateboard. All Edward wants to do is ride his bike in the most dangerous way possible (see my first point), and nobody is going to stop him. Certainly falling down into a concrete pit and scraping himself up is not going to stop him. And me shouting at him in vain to be careful has about as much impact as one might expect.
HE DOESN’T LISTEN TO HIS PARENTS
This is why I am in trouble. Edward is the consummate cool kid, which means he rejects authority at the parental level and lives his own best life, regardless of any input I might want to give him, such as “NO! That is sharp!” or “ACK! HOT! HOT!” Someday he will have a leather jacket and a motorcycle and say to me things like “Lay off, old man!” as he turns on the jukebox with his hip. Or I might be thinking of The Fonz. Either way, he does not care that I want to protect him. He wants to live life on the edge. As a parent, this is petrifying. But as a person, I can’t help but think that he is going to have an unusually awesome life. At least I assume that’s how it works. I was never that cool.