Thursday, June 19, 2008


THE TAO OF COOL


Heard some adult gradeschoolers on LA radio the other day speaking mockingly of older guys driving sports cars "trying to be cool, and they're not cool."

There were three of of them bloviating, two men and one woman, sounding for all the world like kids in third grade making fun of someone new, someone different, ostracizing some other kid because of his shoes or bookbag or hair or you name it, we've all been there, but many of us - hopefully most - sooner or later graduated.

The giveaway was that the mocking trio acted like insiders who knew it all-- even the motive of every older guy who drives a sports car. Maybe in fact he just likes superb cars and always has; maybe he's been building street rods all his life; maybe he just likes speed, or is a former race car driver; maybe he has a truly lived life's appreciation of beauty and elegance, or maybe now at last he is able to realize his dream of one day owning an Alfa Romeo. These and the many other possible reasons were beyond the grasp of the left-behind trio.

It was painfully plain to hear them, still held back after all these years - now salaried and heeded (presumably-- and for not having graduated?) - projecting the history of their own failing struggle with being cool-- for that is what the sports-car scenario meant to them: being cool; i. e., they themselves were uncool, and bitter about it-- a fact that was clear to all graduates who happened to overhear.

As Lao Tzu would have said, were he living today and speaking in this modern context:

“He who speaks of the Cool knows nothing of the Cool; he who speaks not of the Cool needs not, for he is Cool.”

or

"There is no way to the Cool; Cool is the way."

That's why those older guys don't talk about the Cool-- they drive it.

Bugs the hell out of certain people.

And by the way, that 'c' in America? It stands for 'cool.'

3 comments:

David said...

This post is cool.

Tabor said...

I think the Madison Avenue subtext here is that sports cars are a substitute or bait for sex that the old guy is not getting...I am saying that is what Madison Avenue plants on these 'kids' brains. That eternal quest for permanent youth.

Maggie said...

Last night I met a fragile old man as he was getting out of his brand new, Chevy SSR sports pickup convertible with its Corvette motor. He told us that there were only five left, and when he brought it home his daughter thought he was crazy. He was wearing his hat from the submarine service, and he was grinning as he talked about his new truck. I hope he took it cruising where the old trucks and cars cruise.