I remember when I thought I was cool. It wasn't really that long ago. I mean, I thought I was super-cool in middle school, but everyone thinks that. And that carried over so I thought I was cool when I started high school. Then I realized I wasn't. Then I sort of decided that I was cool because I was so uncool (a designation that I have since decided is kind of uncool). Then I went to college and, for a year, was as sure of my uncoolness as I've ever been. Then I got a girlfriend, so I decided I was cool again. Then I married her, which was a great decision, but perhaps not exactly a "cool" one. But now I don't have to worry about the question of whether or not I'm cool anymore. I'm not. I have a kid.
Seriously, if you're reading this and you have a kid, think back on a time when you thought you were cool. (If you're reading this and you don't have a kid, you probably still think you're cool.) (On second thought, if you don't have a kid, you're probably not even reading this. You're probably out at a bar or a movie or someplace else that you're able to go just because you feel like it.) Okay, have you got that period in your life in mind? Now tell me how cool you thought it was to...
...wipe snot off of a little kid's face. (In fact, as Nicole and I were saying the other day, I specifically recall thinking, "Why doesn't that kid's parent just wipe that junk off his face? That's gross." And you know what? The kidless people reading this probably still ask themselves that question. Clueless bastards.)
...turn down an opportunity to go out to a bar with friends because your wife and son are out of town and you have a chance to lie on the couch and eat pizza and watch some movie your wife never lets you watch like Goodfellas.
...watch VeggieTales/Sesame Street/SpongeBob SquarePants/etc. (And I'm not talking about having it on in the background while you're doing housework. I'm talking about sitting down--maybe your kid's there, maybe he's not--and watching with a vested interest in what's happening to these characters.)
And there are tons more examples. Really, my whole day is a study in uncoolness. When we read The Great Gatsby in American Lit., I always have kids define "cool" (so we can talk about whether Gatsby is), and no one ever says, "Ability to sing the entire VeggieTales theme song." So yeah, I'm no longer cool.
BUT (and, as my father would say, it's a big but), the important thing is this: I came to the realization that I'm not cool after I came to the realization that being cool is lame. One of my favorite quotes comes from North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams: "I hate cool people. I've never met one friggin' guy who was cool who I liked." Totally. I hate cool people too, Roy.
So if you still think it's important to be cool, the hell with you. But if you like to talk tomatoes, and if a squash can make you smile, well, then you and I are totally cool.