I have never been cool.
Not whining or anything. Just telling the truth.
And the truth is, I knew I couldn’t be cool so I never put any effort into it. Why bother with something that is out of reach?
Even when I was reviewing concerts and theater and comedy shows for the La Crosse Tribune, I wasn’t cool. But I was fast on the keyboard and could string coherent sentences together on deadline and that’s what was important when writing for a morning newspaper.
There was never a moment in my life when I dressed cool. (I did own a leather bomber jacket but that alone couldn’t carry the look for me.) I didn’t talk cool. I didn’t drink or do drugs. The only wild side I ever walked on was a weedy garden path.
But a Steely Dan song came on the radio this afternoon as I was on my way to the grocery store. And for that moment, I felt cool. Every time I put a Steely Dan album on the turntable (yes, I have them on vinyl — maybe that’s a little cool), I am reminded how literate and beyond interesting the band was. I mean, c’mon, what other rock ‘n’ roller has ever written about Charlemagne? Seriously. That is cool.
So when I got home, I put on “Can’t Buy a Thrill” and felt cool while Walter Becker and Donald Fagen sang about loser gamblers in Vegas.
And then I remembered that a month ago when two of my sisters and a niece were visiting me, we were listing to Gary Lewis and the Playboys sing “Everybody Loves a Clown.”
So much for cool.