I’ve never been a cool kid. I’m sure you’re shocked by this revelation, but it’s true. Growing up, I lacked all of the necessary skills to be cool. I was too smart, too weird, too awkward, too shy. There was nothing about me that would have made me popular even in a one room school house with only two students. It was just not in my genetic make-up.
To take it a step further, I couldn’t even try to be cool. To this day, my sister has to keep me up-to-date on slang and explain the correct context in which it is to be used. In effect, my much hipper younger sister has to translate cool for me because I do not speak it. I march to the beat of my own drummer and that drummer tends to play the oldies.
Going through school as not very popular (not be confused with not having any friends, because I did and they were very good ones and I’m glad I spent my time with them), it baffles me now at the age of thirty bonus year that I would be thought of as cool and be popular, but I am, at least in a two very specific sections of the population.
The first section is Walmart. To pinpoint it even further, the people I worked with at my tiny Walmart here in town. Walking into that store is the closest I’ll ever get to being a rock star.
Okay, so this is mostly because I’ve worked there twice and racked up a few years and I got along really well with most of my co-workers. We chitchat and play catch-up. If I want to get out of there in under two hours, I have to time my visits very precisely.
However, I am something of a legend in that Walmart. I didn’t realize it until I went to work there the second time when I had associates that I’d never even met before know who I was. I guess that happens when you dye your hair mutliple colors, have fun at work (while busting your ass to do your job well), and aren’t afraid to get an attitude with the customers when necessary.
My legend, I’m told, continues on.
The other small contingent that thinks I’m cool are people younger than me. People my own age and people older than me look at me as something of a failure as I never finished college, never got married, never had kids, and live with my dad and a roommate while insisting that I can make some sort of career as a writer while periodically holding day jobs.
Younger people, however, seem to ignore all of that status stuff and instead hone in on the fact that I’m a quick wit that can give objective, practical advice when necessary. In some ways, I’m totally on their level. In other ways, I’m 100 years wiser. It’s an attractive blend, or so I’m led to believe. They think I’m cool.
I never expected that years after high school I would find popularity and some sort of cool factor, however minute and unimportant in the grand scheme that it might be.
Don’t worry. I won’t let it go to my head.