What Do You Mean I’m Not Cool?!

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?

Apparently not.

Kinda thought this was me. Apparently not. Whatever.

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?”

“Yeah. So?”

“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?

25 thoughts on “What Do You Mean I’m Not Cool?!

  1. Mark, you cannot say “cool dude” . “Cool is 1950’s to late ’80’s. “Dude” picks up late 80’s to the present. So you can’t mix cool and dude. It would be like saying “he is a splendid carpenter”. See, does not fit. In the 50’s you would be a “hepcat” which evolved into “cool cat”. Dude does not take an adjective. Either you are a dude or not a dude so it takes no qualifier. Now if a dude’s girlfriend is cool she is a dudette. Now if you live in the hood and you are cool you”know what time it is” or you “be stylin”. Bro and wazzup have also faded. Wazzup has become simply “sup”. West coat Valley Girl(like ya know like it’s like…) is never cool. I am so cool they are changing the name of the North Pole to “Carl’s Pole”. By the way your post today is “spot on”(British-1940’s).


    1. You need to write a book on cool…err, hip…err…slang through the generations, Carl. I’ve learned more from your comment than years’ worth of experience has ever taught me.


  2. Doug Heffernan isn’t cool??? Wow.

    When I was 8 and my dad was 28, I told him he was over the hill. He couldn’t wait for my 28th birthday…and my 29th…and my 35th…and my 46th. I will NEVER live this down. I remind him that even though I thought he was over the hill chronologically, I still thought he was way cool. Still do.


    1. Hey, I think Doug Heffernan is way cool!!

      One of my friends responded to this post on FB by stating, Maybe one day you’ll be riding along with your grandchildren and you’ll hear them tell Rusty and Audrey how uncool they are.

      I happen to think that would be the most delicious type of revenge ever served!


  3. ““What exactly do you think is old?” I asked, fearing the answer.

    “Anything over 28,” they replied. In stereo.”

    Hahahahahahahahahaha…..OMG, how funny!

    However, I remember being a kid and my mother telling me that someone died at the age of 40 and I replied, “40? Well, they lived to a ripe old age!”

    Bwhahahhahahahaha! And this is coming from a man who is 56 and now thinks that 85 is YOUNG!

    “I do think that as far as guys my age go – particularly dads – I’m a pretty cool dude.”

    And you ARE, Mark! You’re one of coolest dudes I know!

    Have a faaaaaaabulous weekend!

    P.S. one suggestion: place some coal in your kid’s Christmas stockings this year, and just wait to see how COOL you feel! 🙂


    1. I’ve done the lump of coal in the stocking thing before, Ron. And I agree: it’s totally fun. The look on Rusty’s face that year was PRICELESS!

      Note, however, that he still doesn’t think I’m cool…

      I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call 85 young, but 56 certainly doesn’t seem that old to me!


  4. Wow!! Quite the shout out for that son of mine. Not that his head needed to get any bigger but really? Didn’t you go just a tad overboard on that one?!?

    Kids will be kids and parents are never cool enough for them. It’s their friends that will end up thinking you are way too cool.

    Don’t let your ego get too bruised Mark. Like Tara says “you are too cool for the room!!” and that, my friend, is all that matters!!


    1. I dunno…some might say his FB comment bordered on “coercion,” lol. I don’t want to find out the connection between peanut butter and jelly, so I figured better safe than sorry!!

      Tara and I *ARE* too cool for the room. That’s right! We know it!


  5. Clearly, Mark, cool people do not ask if they are cool, they just are. Let’s take the classic film on “cool” Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Damone says, “No matter where you are, pretend it’s the place to be….Isn’t this great?”

    And next time you take Tara out you can impress her with your “cool,” by ordering for her, “The Lady will have the linguini in white clam sauce and coke with no ice.”


  6. So funny, Mark–mostly because I’m so resigned to my own uncoolness–if that is even a word–and even if it is, it’s certainly not a cool one.


  7. Anything over 28??? I’d just laugh a wicked laugh and tell them they’re in for a rude awakening. 28 comes on FAST… and it goes fast. I’d like to see how cool they are at 28…


  8. It’s also been a harsh reality for me to realize that (in my kids’ eyes) I am NOT cool, despite me thinking otherwise. I wonder if our parents thought they were cool.

    It’s okay, Mark. I think you’re hip and cool.


  9. Carl is WAY COOLER than you. That Eric shout out was NOT cool, seemed needy in a “please like me” sort of way. I saw a pic of you as a kid that CONFIRMS you were NEVER cool. Sorry Mark, truth hurts. I like you but you are not cool. I think that is a good thing. Cool is over rated. Sick is where its at…although we may have to consult Carl.


    1. Oh, E.T. There was nothing needy about the Eric shout-out. Trust me, if you’d met him you too would be singing his praises. Everybody would!

      And HEY NOW, woman…what kid pic did you see to make you think I was never cool?! Oh…wait…it’s probably those red, white and blue pants I was so fond of…

      Yeah. Never mind.


  10. Probably the way you can be coolest to your kids is to get out there and be involved in stuff (including stuff they’re doing) without trying to seem cool. Gotta keep a low profile – but not so low they don’t notice. It’s a tough balance. The problem is you can’t check on your progress, because asking if you’re cool automatically makes you uncool.

    But we know you’re cool. The kids do, too – but if they told you so, they would be uncool.


  11. Jesus, if 28 is old then I better enjoy my last year of youth! I had one of these moments when a girl shadowed me at work that goes to the same university I did. She mentioned her favorite professor, and I said, “I liked Dr. Jin too. She’s a very smart lady.” The girl looked astonished, unblinking at me. “Dr. Jin was there when YOU were there?”
    I’m soooo old. 🙂


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