Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer Isn't As Cool

As I went into Starbucks recently, I walked past the same guy I mentioned in an earlier post. I almost didn't recognize him. It was the guy who used to sit inside for hours in a dark hat, drawing on a sketchbook while chewing on a matchstick. He had that cool vibe.

But now it's hot, and it's hard to be "cool" in shorts and a t-shirt. He had the same attitude as he sat there - head cocked in an attitude-filled manner, the same matchstick in his mouth, but it wasn't the same, at all.

Think about the word "cool" (or whatever word your generation used). What picture forms in your head? I immediately think of James Dean-type rebels in the 1950's with their black leather jackets and brooding expressions. Jack Nicholson in his Navy uniform saying "You can't handle the truth!" Gene Hackman's clenched jaw in "Unforgiven."

Cool women? Katherine Hepburn daring to wear pants and buck tradition. Judi Dench with her ramrod-straight posture and ability to steal a movie in which she only appears for ten minutes. Queen Latifah, who is able to rap like a gangsta' (Here, I'm proving I'm not cool.) and then appear in a movie as a classy leading lady.

All these people define cool to me. Mainly, they do not try to be cool; anyone who tries automatically isn't. They are strong; they buck tradition; they are smart and are never silly. They keep their mouths shut unless what they have to say is important.

But picture them in shorts and a t-shirt instead of that uniform or dark suit. Flipflops aren't cool. Summer sweat isn't cool. We need to cover up and keep some mystery. Wear that hat with the large brim we can peek from mysteriously. Throw on a rakish scarf or dress all in black. Just don't show your sweat stains.

George isn't as cool in the summer, either. How can you look cool when your tongue is hanging out?

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