My Books

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Not Cool

Nothing says cool like a red beret, n'est ce pas?

When I was 11-years-old I wanted nothing more than to be cool, Daddio.

So I read in the news that Facebook is not cool anymore.

Some of us had doubts about its coolness in the first place. But now it’s official, according to an article in a British newspaper which declared that Facebook is no longer the platform of choice for the critical 16-to-18 -year-old demographic.

You realize what this means, of course. We can all stop worrying about trying to be update our photos and liking everyone else’s. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a great sense of peace about this.

And it’s nice that this news comes out just in time for the traditional end-of-the-year lists of what’s hot and what’s not. Oh sure, it’s trivial stuff for the most part. I mean who isn’t sick of hearing about Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber?

But those lists somehow mesmerize anyway. You find yourself reading them in the same way you might take a quiz in a magazine while waiting in the dentist’s office, not because you care, really, but, you know, just so you’ll stay current. Hah.

The thing about currency is that it only works if it keeps changing hands. The same could be said of fame, another type of currency. The brilliance of yesterday’s stars dims in the shadow of tomorrow’s bright comets. It has ever been thus.

For my generation, the boomers who rode into town on a hip-shaking wave of rock and roll only to crash and burn when the conflicting forces of corporate greed and pie-eyed optimism left us stranded in suburban wastelands that register zero on the walkability meter, the cooling off period has been a bit humbling.

Still. We soldier on. Our freak flags may droop a bit, yet our pie-eyed optimism remains fruity and wholesome.

But cool we ain’t. Our cool days were long ago. Way before Facebook even existed. Yet I’m okay with that. I had a few cool moments. Now I’m more into warmth, sharing, kindness, puppies, etc.

Cool was hot in the early fifties, before most of the current “cool kids” were born. I imagine they have their own vocabulary for what cool meant to their parents. For us, it wasn’t simply Miles Davis and Alan Ginsburg. It wasn’t only Lenny Bruce and George Carlin and Steve Allen and Nina Simone. It was a whole complex of ideas and energy and style that roared into the culture after the boys came home from World War Two. It was an awareness of how fleeting life is, and how fast it goes by, and a determination to make the most of every minute.

As another New Year’s eve approaches, new lists of ins and outs will circulate. Facebook will likely be nudged onto the out list by some new app. How apt.

Meanwhile, I’ll be updating my status with a glass of wine and a fine film, enjoying the serenity that comes from knowing I don’t have to try to be cool anymore. And that’s really cool.

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