Monday, June 8, 2009

We think we're so cool

Once upon a time, my wife and I were cool. We went to cool places and hung out with cool people. We wore cool clothes and said cool things. We were arctic, we were so cool.

Things heated up when we started a family. Kids can do that. They add warmth to your life and soul, but that warmth slowly melts away your cool.

First to go is the ability to travel to cool places. This is followed by dramatic changes to the company you keep. You hang out with non-parents less and less. Non-parents don't understand that infants don't care if you have a hangover. And if you didn't drink to begin with, a) why the heck not, and b) non-parents also don't understand that you have to stop what you are doing twice a day for six to nine months so your baby can nap, so bear with me.

Cool clothing is next on the list. Your children may wear cool clothes, but you are so broke from buying kid stuff you are afraid to splurge on yourself. I have never splurged on my own clothing. God that sounds bad, if your mind is in the gutter where mine is. If I ever look well-dressed, it is because my wife purchased good clothes for me and told me when to wear them.

The last cubes of cool to melt away are your language skills. Elimination of foul language is the beginning of the end. As it turns out, it is inappropriate to tell a crying baby to "shut the f-up." Who knew. Instead, you are supposed to hold them and coo lovingly, or just let them cry it out while you slowly go insane. You are going to go insane anyway, as a parent, so you may as well start the process right away. Once you have total disarmament of your F-bombs, it's all downhill from there.

The isolation mandated by parenthood keeps you at a distance from new cultural trends. You don't go to the hot new hangouts. Actually, you just don't go out at all, but that's too depressing to mention. You can only watch kid-friendly TV, at least until you get them to bed. Then if you put on a movie, you are likely to fall asleep watching it because you are too tired from dealing with the kids all evening.

And you don't understand the new slang. You are vaguely aware that it exists, but you rarely have instance to practice its proper form and end up saying the wrong thing the wrong way at the wrong time. My wife was watching TV and some criminal did something really stupid and got busted.

"Oh, smack!" She said to the TV. Then she turned to me and asked, "Is that what you say?"


"Oh yeah. Snap." At least she got the timing right.

Luckily this little exchange occurred in the privacy of our own home, not in a public forum where many people would be aware of it. That would really be embarrassing, you know.


scott g.f. bailey said...

Oh, smack! You make your own cool.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Now, it could have been worse because you could've thought of yourselves as far out, radical or hip (and be in need of that replacing)!!

Davin Malasarn said...

I don't care if I'm cool or not, so that makes me cool, right? Great post!

Rick Daley said...

Scott: I'm using your recipe.

Elaine: Actually, we do think of ourselves as far out, radical, and hip. But we're trying to connect with the younger generation while we can, before our hips snap.

Davin: I think Scott got his recipe from you...

Scott said...

I feel your pain, brother. To be honest, I was never really that cool, but I at least did some of the stuff you talked about and played a lot of GD golf! The wife and I went out for dinner and a movie with another couple a few weeks ago and, honest to God, it felt like we had vacationed in Paris.

I think the hardest part of being a parent is the isolation. You're so wrapped up in your own family, there's rarely time for anyone else.

Rick Daley said...

I've always wanted to be cool, but in truth I never was.

Even when I played bass in a rock band I was not cool. I might have looked kind of cool on stage with a doo-rag and pony tail (yes, I used to have hair).

I don't think that counts if you know that when I got home, I practiced playing Fur Elise, Beethoven's 5th, and Mozart's overture to The Marriage of Figaro on my bass. Although I justifies it in my mind by calling the Beethoven pieces (which I tied together) BASSTHOVEN, and I convinced myself that all Mozart is in fact speed metal but with different instrumentation.

Honestly, he could shred.

Laura Martone said...

Ah, Rick, where does that leave me? The hubby and I live equally sheltered, non-cool lives, and we have no kids! Sheesh. Just a kitty - and she's fine watching our kind of movies... and f-bombs haven't disturbed her... yet!

I'm terribly amused, however, by your description of modern slang awareness. It reminds me of David Ogden Stiers' character in "Better Off Dead" (incidentally, one of my favorite movies). He's, in fact, reading a book about understanding teenagers when he says "Right off!" to Lane (John Cusack's character), to which Lane replies "On, Dad! Right on!"

Teehee - has me in stitches every time!

Laurel said...

Holy Crap, Rick!

You seemed plenty cool to me but that last comment put you over the top.

Any bass playing, Mozart/Beethoven loving author wannabe is cool.

I was never cool. Ever. Ever. I was on the cusp of overcoming this when I got myself knocked up in an effort to thank my husband properly for the tickets he bought to the Alabama vs. Tennessee game in Tuscaloosa.

5 overtimes. Tennessee won. (I HATE Rocky Top!) Alabama lost a key player to a broken leg. But Mark still got lucky. It was a preemptive strike in an effort to get more tickets but we haven't been back to Tuscaloosa since 2003. Drat.

At any rate, the window of opportunity on my coolness closed just as it was opening. Alas.

Rick Daley said...


Better Off Dead is one of my favorite comedies of all time. I laughed out loud when I read you post. There are so many classic lines, among them: "Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky."


I don't know how that incident impacts your coolness, but as for you elevates him off the charts ;-)

Laurel said...

Sorry, Rick!

That post would be an example of "Poor Syntax" although it may have been alcohol induced.

I meant to say that I was unfolding into a sort of cool person when my transformation was disrupted by the Alabama/Tennessee incident. Like IQ, coolness drops 20% with each pregnancy.

Anita said...

I completely get what you're saying here. At least I'm aware of the husband, not so much. The kids are constantly rolling their eyes at dad comments. But they still love him, so that's good.

ElanaJ said...

Holy coolness! I completely agree. And I am so NOT cool, because I had no idea "snap" was the kewl thing to say.

Rick Daley said...


Your husband- like most men- may be aware of the change on an inner level but refuses to acknowledge it to others. He is hoping the cycle will complete itself and he will be cool again eventually, there for he does not extend the effort to change.

We do the same thing with the sense of being lost while driving. We actually do know when this happens, but rather than stopping for directions we hope to continue driving until the right roads appear underneath us.

Rick Daley said...


Here is a link to SNAP in the Urban Dictionary so you may study its proper usage:

Crimogenic said...

Personally, I thought "oh, snap" was so five years ago, but I'm outdated myself.

"As it turns out, it is inappropriate to tell a crying baby to "shut the f-up." I don't believe you. Are you sure about that?

Laura Martone said...

Crimo - I'm with you. I also thought "oh, snap!" was so "five minutes ago" - I mean, wasn't it in ZOOLANDER eight years ago?!

Oh, what do I know? I have little interaction with teenagers these days... if I ever started a conversation with one, I'd probably think he/she was speaking Mongolian.

Rick Daley said...

Crimey / Laura,

I think my delayed reaction in catching in to "snap" is further proof of my lost cool. You dig?

Anita said...

I think you're right!

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

I have a class, full of helpful eleven year olds, who cannot - as a collective - roll their eyes with as much pointed, piercing, power as my own sixteen year old.
Sometimes, I brave 'the font of teen-speak', to check references, but only after fortifying my courage with a deeply indrawn breath!

The weekend is here - new post?

PurpleClover said...

LMFAO! Wow. You summed it up right there. But the best part was your wife saying "Oh smack!" LMFAO. I can't even type that without laughing.

Mainly because my hubby and I are always doing the same thing. Partly from exhaustion and not knowing what is coming out of our mouths but partly because we aren't "cool" anymore and have no idea what to say in what context.

Rick Daley said...


It also took us both a long time to learn the proper usage of the term "yo." But I think we both have it down now.

"Yo" is best expressed as a spoken period. For example:

It is best expressed as a spoken period, yo

You can see where the verbal form "yo" can replace the period in urban dialogue. Most interesting. I think someone should take the time to research the origins of this new marvel of language and report back to me. Any volunteers?

jbchicoine said...

Try meeting new grandchild #2! That’ll suck the last bit of chill right out of whatever cool you manage to recreate after the kids leave home!