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Saturday, 01 January 2000

Wyatt on Being Cool: The History of Cool

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Hey, you know everybody wants to be cool. We wanna look cool, have cool friends and do cool things, but did you ever wonder where the term "cool" came from? What does "cool" really mean?

Anyway, when I asked my history teacher if I could do my term paper on "The History of Cool", she kind of stared at me, rolled her eyes and walked away. So rather than waste this very cool theory of mine, I figure I'd share it with you.

The history of cool is like the history of the bagel--everyone wants to claim they invented it. So I figure my theory is as good as any.

As I see it, somewhere around the Paleolithic Era (that's Stone Age for you illiterates), the idea behind the word "cool" came into being. I figure everyone was walking around wearing mammoth or bear skin when this guy (let's call him "Grunt") appears on the scene in leopard.

That was pretty cool, but as we all know it takes more than clothes to make the man. As a matter of fact some guy named "Ugh" showed up the next day wearing prairie dog and he got his ass kicked but good. Anyway, "Grunt" shows up the next night while everyone is bashing their women over the heads with clubs and dragging them hair-first. But no, not Grunt. Grunt just struts up to the cutest babe in the cave and asks her out on a date (the first recorded date in history). It was so...so...civilized...so COOL!!

Throughout history cool has been replaced with other words like "keen", "neat", "groovy", "cat's pajamas" (weird, huh?), but "cool" always comes back. "Cool" is in and it's here to stay.

But my main point is this: What we think cool is supposed to be is really the opposite of what cool really is. For example, let's say you're about to interview for a summer job with this computer firm (It's a great in, as you aspire to becoming the greatest hacker the world has ever known), but you're really uptight, someone may say to you, "be cool".

Now you can't be cool, because the guy who's gonna interview you is an overweight nerd from some foreign country and he has acne and a severe stutter. You're gonna be a total screw-up in this meeting because you never hung out with any fat people, foreign students, nerds, or kids with zits and speech problems--BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T COOL ENOUGH FOR YOU.

Therefore, being cool must have something to do with being comfortable with all kinds of people in any given situation. The guy who's really cool can go anywhere and fit in. But if you're only gonna hang out with the small group of people who fit your definition of cool, then you're gonna be a total washout in your professional, personal, and social life. HOW UNCOOL CAN YOU GET?

My Mom is one of the coolest people I know. She can walk into a Polish, Hassidic, Catholic or Tibetan wedding and party all night. She's as comfortable at a Private Tennis Club as she is at the local soup kitchen - NOW THAT'S COOL!

CONCLUSION--You gotta open yourself up to all kinds of people and all kinds of interesting opportunities if you really want to be cool. Cause if you limit yourself to some narrow definition of cool you're gonna end up a real loser.

Like while you're spending all this time pumping iron and fixing your hair in the coolest style, the girl of your dreams is gonna end up with some fat nerd with a foreign accent (maybe he knows something you don't).

Anyway, stay cool. Now you know what I mean.

 

Last modified on Sunday, 03 July 2011 08:14
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