Sunday, October 15, 2006

Debra -- The Price of Cool

I've been an adult for a number of years. I'm supposed to be wise enough to know that "trying to be" cool is never quite the same thing as simply "being" cool.

You can't buy cool. You can't bargain for cool. You can't fake cool. If you try, there will be a price to pay. The Lords of Cool will swat you. Trust me. I have swat marks.

Case in point: Horror Movies
Hate 'em. However, I ignored that when my then-18-year-old said, "Mom, I'm going to take you to a movie for your birthday." I was thrilled. How cool was I that my son would spend time with his ol' mom?! I wanted to continue being cool, so I scanned the movie ads for something that would make me seem hip.

I decided that we'd go see "Jason X." Yes, it was a horror flick but the subtitle was something like Jason In Space so I'm thinking, 'Space. Okay. Killing alien beasties is something I can deal with.' My son was astonished. Blinked a couple of times. Then said, "Cool."

Victory! Mission accomplished. All systems go. Then we sat down in the theater.

"Houston, we have a problem."

You see, I had forgotten the number one rule of teen horror flicks-- A character's probability of survival is directly proportional to how much teen sex they've had.

The bad girls always die first. And, boy howdy! do they have some fun before they die.

Before the blood and gore even started, I was closing my eyes hoping I'd never again have my son sitting beside me when a student character was chastising her teacher with a riding crop. I think her nipple popped out shortly thereafter.

I don't really know. I spent most of the movie with my head in my hands, promising the Lords of Cool that I would be comfortable being me and never again attempt unauthorized cool maneuvers.

How about you? Have the Lords of Cool smacked you? Have you ever had that perfect zen moment of coolness?


Helen Brenna said...

Two minutes ago I had a "cool" conversation with my son, who started his first year of junior high. I said, "You know, the really cool people don't care what other people think of them." To which he responded, in a nicly patronizing tone, "No matter what you do, Mom, you're not going to get me to be a nerd." He knows me too well.

My 17 year old daughter hasn't been to a movie with me since she was 12 and, even then, she'd only go if we drove to another suburb.

So, yeah, I guess my Daughter of Cool has smacked me pretty good!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I've never been cool. I spent my freshman year in high school hoping to be blessed by the Fairy Godmother of Cool. It didn't happen. I succumbed to Nerddom when I was a sophomore. Debate team, soccer (boys only in those days), drill team instead of cheerleading (too late to take up an instrument) American Girl loafers instead of the cooler (pricier) Wiejuns. My style improved with the British Invasion, but I was at peace with my reality. I would not be in the running for prom queen.

My kids must have decided somewhere along the line that it was cool for Mom to be a writer because they volunteered me for speaking to their classes on several occasions, although I'm sure they earned points with the other kids for finagling a slack day. I quickly learned to display the books without passing them around. Kids have a way of opening right up on a love scene.

Candace said...

I think you get slapped by the Lords of Cool more often if you're a parent--all those those fledging Lords of Cool who live with you just waiting to whack you upside the head.

As an aunt, I am not up close and personal with the little darlings on a daily basis, so maintaining an image of cool is easier. In fact, I am considered very cool by my nieces and nephews. Which tickles me no end because in high school I was that geeky bookworm with the frizzy hair and coke bottle bottom glasses who got As in English and history; you can't get any more uncool than that! So I relish my coolness now.

'Course, it's easy to be cool at a distance and in small doses. I get to swoop in for a weekend visit, take the feldging Lords of Cool to lunch and shopping at some happening mall store like Hot Topic, nod my head knowingly and commiserate with them while they tell me how uncool their parents are. Basicially, I spoil 'em rotten for a day and then take them home.

Cool is definitely easier if you don't have to maintain it!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I've been called to the principal's office on more than one occasion. Not for my own behavior, of course, but for my older son. The cool one. I remember bounding up the steps at his jr high one time to find said son waiting for me inside the front doors. He was accused of setting off a cherry bomb during an assembly in the gym. His first words to me? "Mom, please don't run. All my friends are watching, and you run goofy."

Betina said...

I confess, I wore a billed cap backward while working at my 2nd son's all night graduation party. In my defense, the bill in front shrouded my vision and I needed every bit of my visual field to watch for flying objects. My son didn't cringe openly, but now looking back, I know that look on his face was NOT pride. sigh.

I also participated in a skit advertising another senior graduation party. . . in which I played Dr. Ruth, the sex expert. I had jokes about a lot of the kids in the class-- got great laughs. Then I did a joke about the kid with the perfect SAT's scores. . . and there was a giant "Whoooooa" all over the auditorium. I knew I'd stuck my foot in it, but had no idea how. There were waves rocking my boat for days over that one.

Smacked hard by the Lords of Cool. Refused to participate in the skit when second son came through. Can't say I don't learn my lessons.

Debra Dixon said...

Oh, it's so nice knowing that I'm not the only person smacked by the Lords of Cool.

Why is it we only know we're about to get smacked when it's a second too late to make a different decision??

I have had a few cool moments too. One of my favorites as a writer was a Bantam "free book giveaway" that they do at national. They were giving away my BAD TO THE BONE book that year.

There are *always* huge lines because the books are free. That wasn't the cool part. I'm in my rhythm of looking up, smiling, glancing at the name tag so I can spell the name, and saying, "Is this for you?" as I open the book and begin to organize my brain to write "Linda."

My entire being freezes and I slowly glance back up to confirm the last name on her name tag was HOWARD. Linda Howard of the umpteen zillion NYT lists had stood in my line to get a copy of *my* book. She'd already read it and proceeded to discuss it in glowing terms and then say, "Where is your editor? I have to tell her they need to be doing something more with you."

I pointed my editor out and Linda swanned over to have a chat.

It was probably one of the coolest writer moments I've had.

Michele said...

I have never been cool, and I don't think I need to be. I prefer geekdom. In our house it's cool to be a geek (but never a nerd). :-) My son just got a job at Best Buy, the ultimate geek's paradise. When he walks in that store it's like the heavens open up and the angels beam down and he hears them sing.

It's like that for me when I go into a Target store. How not cool is that?


Jaye Wells said...

I had an uncool moment this weekend. My son is in tball (for three-and four-year-olds. All the parents are usually on the field with the team that's catching. About halfway through the game, my son asked me to be with him on the field instead of his daddy.

So I go out and we have a great time.

It wasn't until after that my hubby let me know how uncool I was:

"Honey, it's not cool to hold his hand while he plays sports."

Debra Dixon said...

Jaye-- LOL! How adorable. I don't care what your husband says. I think that was way cool. :)

Michele-- I love Target too! Just love it. :) We call it Tar-jei in my house.

Helen Brenna said...

Deb, that's an awsomely cool moment with Linda Howard. I can only hope something close to that ever happens in my writing career.

Jaye - your sports story reminded me that last weekend, my son and his friend actually asked ME to go outside to throw them the football. That was cool. His friend made a comment about how far I could throw it, and my son did look kinda proud.

scrapperjen said...

I KNOW I'm not cool and I'm ok with that!!!!! In fact, I love to embarass my teenage son when we're in public.
Horror movies - never got into them... They are a little too cheesy and creepy for me.
A zen moment of coolness? No...sorry! I'm just me...