I've racked my brain the past few days, in a futile attempt to determine the exact moment when I stopped being cool. Until recently, I had always thought I was pretty cool, hip, groovy, and up-to-date on the latest trends in fashion, music, and popular culture. Do you know how I found out I wasn't cool anymore? My teenage son told me.
It seems that being cool has changed since John Travolta became famous while dancing his way to stardom in "Saturday Night Fever," the Rolling Stones led by Mick Jagger were cavorting all over the stage, singing "I can't get no satisfaction, and custom vans were the hottest things on the street.
I still can't believe I've lost my cool. I try to be cool; I really do. I don't wear suspenders, bib overalls, bow ties, thick glasses, pocket protectors, knee-high black socks with dress shoes and Bermuda shorts, or wear pants, either four inches too short, or pulled up to my chest.
I've even been known to wander into an Abercrombie and Fitch store once in a while to buy the latest in khaki pants, and knit polo shirts. I often sport a three-day growth of beard, wear jeans with holes in them, leave my ski hat on indoors, surf the net, use Twitter and Facebook, and keep up with, what's "trending."
I will admit, I haven't kept up with the words and phrases today's youth use. I listened to two teenagers at the mall yesterday. Could someone tell me the meaning of cray cray, crunk, merked, reach, dip, moss, swag, or wanksta? I did hear the word dope, but it doesn't mean a husband who forgot his wedding anniversary, or illegal drugs. According to my son, it means cool or awesome. The next time at work, when my boss comes up to me and says, "Dope," I'll just smile and say, "You to sir."
Yesterday, I went through my dresser drawers and closets in the hope, I might just find my cool, buried deep down under my neatly folded Fruit of the Loom, cotton, comfort fit, tighty-whiteys, or hidden way in the back of my closest under years of dust. I did find a "Coolest Dad in the World" tee-shirt, which my son had given me five years ago for Father's Day. I guess I've narrowed the loss of my cool, down to somewhere in the last half-decade.
I sat down with my son last night, and learned some interesting things. I found out that parents, no matter how hard we try, will most likely never be cool again. The best we can possibly hope for, is to not embarrass our children too much. It appears that there are literally thousands of things that parents, and especially fathers do that are not only, not cool, but cause their children untold embarrassment in front of their peers.
It seems that any type of dancing is strictly prohibited. Even hand motions, feet tapping, or head movements are taboo. My first thought to this was,
"Come on - not dancing! I'm the king of the dance floor at wedding receptions. Who’s going to lead the way during the Chicken Dance, Electric Slide, Macarena, and the Twist? I love the Twist. Give me a few beers, slippery-soled shoes, and a wooden dance floor, and I have moves that would put Chubby Checkers to shame."
My son said to me, "Dad, don't take this the wrong way, but you're spasmodic." Spasmodic? How am I, not, supposed to take that the wrong way? Have you seen some of today's dance moves? I saw a skinny kid with baggy pants in the park the other day doing something my son calls, "free-styling." He was jumping all over the place, rolling around on the ground, spinning like a top, and doing back flips. He looked just like my cousin, Earl that time we were in the woods, and a bee's nest fell out of a tree and landed on his head.
I have a few more things parents need to know. If you have a beater car, be sure you drop your kid a few blocks from school. When you're driving with your teenager, don't bob your head, up and down and sing to the hard-driving sounds of Bruce Springsteen's, "Born to Run" album. For some reason this drives them nuts. Unless you're a mother and your child is leaving for military boot camp; do not kiss, hug, put your hand on their shoulder, ruffle their hair or touch them in any way. If you're required to attend a school function with your teenager, be prepared to have them totally ignore you for the entire evening.
Maybe my son is right, and I'll never be cool again. Tonight, I think I'll stay in, get a glass of warm milk, wrap myself in a nice warm snuggie, turn on the stereo, and listen to my favorite oldies station. I still have my memories, and no matter what my son says; I know I was once cool. Hmmmm...... That tune sounds familiar. Is that ABBA's "Dancing Queen?" That song is soooo........cool! I think I'll pull my old leisure suit out of the closet, and see if it still fits.