Like most of us perhaps, I tried to be but never was a cool kid. At age 62, I have finally given up the pursuit of coolness.
What is cool? (And why have I never posed the question to myself before?) I think of “cool” as a certain unassailable grace and self-confidence and savoir faire … and the ability to breezily “ride above” sloppy feelings and over-earnestness.
Not only don’t I aspire to be cool anymore; cool people bore the shit out of me.
Last night’s Higher Thought game really drove it home. There was not a single cool person in the Zoom room, thank god. And the discussion got a bit serious, what with the pandemic and the imminent end of human civilization as we know it and so on. At one point I mentioned that it was the most “grim” Higher Thought game I’d ever been part of and my friend Richard asked, “Is that a bad thing?”
“No,” I admitted. “Not at all bad from my perspective. I’m just worried what you all think!”
Ha! Talk about uncool! Actually I think we all felt it was a little grim, but healthy all the same. And not unpleasant!
We had six people in the room last night. I had put out the call about the game in this newsletter. We said we would have to limit the room to eight attendees but that will no longer be the case for future games, since my friend Eleanor prompted me to actually look at the Zoom administrative controls online and toggle the little button that enables breakout rooms.
Eleanor is a freaking genius. She is so totally uncool – so transparent, so explicit, so courageous and real – she gives new meaning to the whole concept of “cool” because, by incinerating coolness to the ground, she is the coolest thing ever. Paradox.
I thought I didn’t have that much more to learn about sex, being in my 60s and all, but I guess there’s always more to learn about sex, just as there is always more to learn about love. I’m thinking at this moment of Eleanor’s one-woman play, How to Really … Really? Really! Love a Woman which is … a little indescribable, though the reviews do deliver some sense of it. “Intense. Wild. Sexually explicit and very funny.” (Global News Review) “Intimate, risqué and often hilarious.” (Edmonton Journal) etc. I would add … “Memoir, cultural expose, anatomy class, and comedy volcano rolled into one.” You can now watch it for five bucks on Vimeo. Highly recommended.
Speaking of things I highly recommend … another of my brilliantly uncool friends is a guy whom I first came to know of through his writing, namely this short story which was published in THE SUN magazine in 1989. Tim actually JOINED US last night … I must say, it felt almost cool to have one of my favorite novelists in the world in MY Zoom room, but, you know, of course, I don’t do cool.
What to say about Tim’s writing? Immediately and delightfully accessible. Lovely. Vulnerable. Brimming with simple and poignant insights. Fantastically sympathetic characters. Please read Elmer Slow Bear; it will be the best 15 minutes you’ve spent this week, this month, or this year. And if you love it … you can Google Tim Farrington’s novels online. I would recommend starting with either THE MONK DOWNSTAIRS or LIZZIE’S WAR, but really you cannot go wrong.
And I certainly don’t want to offend anyone but all I can say is, if you can read Elmer Slow Bear and not love it, the only explanation I can imagine is that you must be a cool kid.
What I Really Meant to Say Is …
Did you see PLANET OF THE HUMANS and have you been aware of the controversy around it?
Basically, Michael Moore produced (but did not direct) a film that makes the case that renewable energy technology is a dead end, and environmental leaders are largely in on the scam. It’s a harsh film. The actual technological claims in the film have been convincingly (in my opinion) rebutted – solar and wind technology have advanced astronomically over the last decade.
But I think the filmmakers are right in that we cannot sustain the world we had before the pandemic, even with renewables. We just can’t. In a post-film interview, they talked about a need for “a new environmental movement.”
I was wondering what such a movement would look like. It probably shouldn’t have leaders since leaders are imperfect and people expect way too much from them. And leaders are so easy to knock down, as the film showed – even beautifully intentioned, hardworking, selfless leaders.
So then maybe the new environmental movement is sourced in all of us?
Last Word, for Now
So, as long as you’re not a cool kid, you are welcome to join us next time we do a virtual Higher Thought Party! If there are a lot of people, perhaps we’ll have breakout groups. ‘Til then … stay safe and kind to yourself and others. Peace out!