Ever since the Sharks challenged the Jets to a dance rumble, kids have been talking about who’s cool and who’s not. Oh heck, it probably started before that. There was probably a group of Neanderthal kids who thought their puma skin loin cloths were better than the Cro-Magnon kids’ leopard skin thongs (they were wrong, leopard skin always wins). Greasers vs. Socs, Jocks and Burnouts, Dauntless vs. Abnegation. The divide between cool and uncool and who decides which camp you fall into…it’s been around for a long time. Longer than me.
How do I know? I’ve been on the inside, I’ve been on the outside, the B side and the flip-side. I was on the outside only to find out that people thought I was on the inside. I have been around the popular block a fair few times. I’m going to let you in on something. There are ways to tell if someone is cool or not, but they’re not what you think. You probably won’t believe me now, but maybe you will someday.
It doesn’t matter what kind of shoes someone is wearing or what kind of computer they have. It doesn’t matter how long or short their hair is or who they’re dating or what kind of music they listen to (well, maybe a little of that) or whether or not they can kick a ball into a net. It doesn’t matter if they have braces or glasses or crutches or freckles or red hair or if they’re tall or short or like boys or girls or both or neither. What’s a cool kid?
Cool kids are kids who love what they do and do what they love, whether it’s math or chess, lacrosse or Michael Flatly river dancing.
Cool kids don’t do things just because someone else tells them to.
Cool kids know that everyone makes mistakes, that everyone deserves a second chance. And sometimes a third.
Cool kids know that everyone has a different idea of what is or isn’t cool.
Cool kids aren’t afraid to stand out, even if it makes them unpopular.
Cool kids know what irony is.
Cool kids stand up for what they believe in.
Cool kids don’t have to wear a certain brand or a certain style or a certain color.
Cool kids don’t have conditions.
Cool kids talk to the new kid because everyone was the new kid once upon a time.
Cool kids aren’t perfect.
Cool kids aren’t the ones with the most friends.
Cool kids aren’t the ones that win everything.
Cool kids know the difference between cool and mean.
Cool kids know that making someone else feel bad is totally uncool.
Cool kids know the difference between noticing differences and exploiting them.
Cool kids care, but not about being cool.
Cool kids usually don’t think they are.
Cool kids believe their parents when their parents tell them it’s not what’s cool that matters, but how you live your life. Down the line anyway.
Someday you’ll see.