I was driving my kids to school the other day when a really good song popped up on my iPod. After doing a bit of air drumming while stopped at a red light, I glanced into the rearview mirror and said, “How does it feel to have a Cool Dad?”
The blank expressions on my little cherubs’ faces weren’t exactly encouraging.
“Who?” Rusty asked.
“You guys,” I said.
“But who’s cool?” he wondered still.
“I am. Me. The guy behind the steering wheel.”
At that they both rolled their eyes. Fearing that I may have misread their expressions – it was still kinda dark outside, after all, and the mirror might have been a little smudged – I said, “You do think I’m cool, right?”
There was a long pause, followed by a disconcerting “Umm…” that trailed off into a black pool of silence. This from the mouth of Audrey. My youngest. She’s 11. Still a reasonable age to consider her dad to be a pretty cool guy, right?
So then, I found myself justifying my coolness to the kids. “Hey, just last week I was partying in Seattle…rockin’ out at a bunch of concerts…right in front of the stage, even!…visiting Kurt Cobain’s house…slamming back shots, I mean, geoduck…I’m even wearing a Nirvana shirt right now…I bet all your friends’ dads are dressed in cardigans and grooving to Lawrence Welk tonight…”
My argument petered out as I realized it was no longer 1962.
And still, I was getting nowhere with the two in the back seat. Their eyes had glazed over the moment I opened my mouth. I, for one, was stunned. Shocked to learn that my kids don’t think I’m the coolest person in the world. It boggles the mind. How can they not see how hip to the jive their dad is? (Could it be that truly cool people never use the expression “hip to the jive” maybe?!).
I do think that as far as guys my age go – particularly dads – I’m a pretty cool dude. But I suppose once your kids have seen you kicking back on a recliner dressed in funky striped pajama pants and drinking tea while laughing over the crazy antics of Doug Heffernan on The King Of Queens they can never fully come around to thinking of you as cool.
“Well,” I grumbled, my ego now bruised. “Tara says we’re both too cool for the room.”
‘Tis true. It’s a favorite expression of ours. But this last desperate gambit of mine, one final chance to show them that somebody at least thinks I’m cool, backfired when Rusty said, “Isn’t she in her 30s?”
“Well, that’s pretty old.”
“Excuse me? 30s is considered old?!”
A pair of heads nodded in unison. I knew I couldn’t blame a dirty mirror this time; the response was too perfectly choreographed. To make matters worse, the sun was now rising, eliminating “shadowplay” (and its kindred spirit “a trick of the light”) from being a possibility.
“What exactly do you think is old?” I asked, fearing the answer.
“Anything over 28,” they replied. In stereo.
Anything. Over. 28. Sigh…I don’t stand a chance with those two. That train left the station many years ago. I guess I’ll just have to resign myself to the fact that no matter how many obscure indie bands I like or rock concerts I attend or Nirvana t-shirts I wear or
glasses of bourbon platters of geoduck I down, my kids will never, ever consider me cool.
Well, boo to them! Something tells me their Christmas stockings are going to be a little on the empty side this year, if you catch my drift. Cool dads might stuff them full of all sorts of awesome things, but since I’m not cool, they’ll have to be content with a toothbrush and a pair of socks. If they’re lucky.
While I may not be cool, you know who is? Tara’s brother, Eric.
That’s right. Eric is one cool cat. He is awesomely cool in a way that very few people can ever hope to match. Eric’s so cool, I want to fill my blog with his name over and over again because it sounds so damn good. Eric. Eric. Eric. Eric.
Eric. Eric. Eric.
You know what? Still not out of my system yet…
Eric. Eric. Eric. Eric. Eric. Eric. Eric.
That’s a little better, but I think at this point I should save the rest for another time. Wouldn’t want to OD on such a cool guy right off the bat, you know?