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Redefining Cool – Guest Post by Gary Berenbroick


Gary Berenbroick, not cool

We had a handful of hundred degree plus days last week. I can’t stand it when it gets that hot. First, because it sucks the life out of me and I wind up slack jawed and drooling by the time I get to my car. On top of that it become more unbearable because people insist on talking about it. People start losing their minds when it gets hot and they say stupid sh*t.

Hot enough for you?

It was 115 in Arizona today but it was a dry heat.

Adam Glass chimed in:

Homie it hit 152 degree in Souther Iraq and that was with us wearing full kit. 100 degrees is just a good reason for a dip in the lake.

In the winter we’ll be complaining about it being too cold.

Stay cool.

The last one bothers me the most. Does it need to be said? Should you follow it with keep breathing?

The word cool had been tormenting me for most of my life. I learned to write programs in Basic when I was ten. When my peers were outside playing baseball, I was inside simulating a season on my Commodore 64. Since we didn’t have Season Mode back then, I had to keep my stats by hand. Date, score and running total of my record were logged in a notebook for each game of my season. Some of you, a minority of a minority, may have thought that was cool but you’d never have known about it because I was alone in my room.

When the daytime talk shows started doing their makeover episodes I started to fantasize about the day when it would be my turn. They’d spray a tan on me; add a little curl to my straight, puffy hair and fit me for some new clothes. We’d walk into the wardrobe area and it’d be filled with blue jeans, white t-shirts and leather jackets. The camera would cut away while I was stuffed into a pair of blue jeans, topped off with a stark white t-shirt, accessorized with a pack of smokes rolled up in a sleeve and draped in a shiny new leather jacket. I walk out to gasps and jaws dropping on the floor. I would smirk and stand smugly in my newfound coolness. Now I would finally stop getting my ass kicked, and maybe I’d kick a few of my own. In hindsight, this may not have gone as well as I thought. It wasn’t 1954, James Dean had been long dead and Happy Days was already in syndication.

It didn’t get much better in high school. I had three friends (which was progress) and we were all going to start a heavy metal band together. The problem, or one of them, was that none of us played any instruments nor could we sing. I had this vision of us being on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans. We’d all jump in tandem over a pit in the middle of the stage while a giant fireball shot into the sky and without missing a beat on our respective instruments. I was going to have a tattoo of a snake that wrapped around my arm from my should to my hand. The snake’s head would be on the back of my hand with it’s tongue running up my middle finger. I was going to be beyond cool.

In reality I didn’t bathe often enough, wore the same clothes every day and my face was tattooed with pimples. I wore headphones as much as I could and avoided contact with everyone around me. By senior year I had an epiphany. Crazy people are cool. I decided to do the most dangerous, most illegal and most insane things out of all of my friends. I would jump on the hoods of cars and tear off their hood ornaments. I started smoking and drinking. Since no one would sell me either, I started stealing them. I padded my cassette tape collection by pilfering tapes from the local music store and while my friends ran diversion I’d stuff three copies of the newest comic book down my pants at the geek shop. Since Heavy Metal Superstar didn’t pan out, I started aiming for Mafia Kingpin or Circus Freak. Sticks, branches, sheets of glass, beer cans and even beer bottles would all be crushed or crumbled against my new skull of steel. I would eat or drink anything.

The day I arrived at college I implemented a new strategy. It was similar to the last one but a tad more refined. The stealing and circus tricks were out (for the most part) but the drinking remained. College kids admire people who drink a lot. That was my ticket to cool. I don’t really remember if it worked or not.

I sit here now, older and wiser. The undeniable truth slaps me in the face every day. I’m not cool.

Well, I’m not globally cool. There are segments of the population that would think the things I do and the person I am are cool as cool could be. They are most likely small segments, but I’m sure with this fancy internet thing we have that I’d be able to find someone who thought I was cool. So I no longer feel compelled to change my clothes, actions or thoughts to become cool. I just have to change who defining cool for me.

About the author

from Josh: Gary is awesome, although he may not be cool. I’m proud to know him and to call myself his friend. If you’d like to go tell him he is great, visit him at Kettlebells4U where he offers kettlebell classes in Paoli, PA.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Eric | Eden Journal August 1, 2011, 8:32 am

    I think that far too many people in our society are continually seeking the approval and attention of others. Everyone tries so hard to be cool, when in reality the are already cool in their own different ways.

    My favorite example of seeking approval is the facebook “fishing for comments,” where someone posts some comment bait and they sit by their computers just waiting for someone to draw out more detailed info. They define their coolness by how many people reply asking for the full scoop.

    I have more to say on the matter, but you’ll have to draw it out of me with some crafty replies. If I get enough replies I’ll assume that I’m cool and if not I’ll be quetly sobbing in the corner. 😉