This week's blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with Professor Foster (his non-white, non-dad wife), and their daughter Viva, who is so cool she once won a bet that she could eat 50 hard-boiled eggs.
Life is hard, Dear Readers, and it always kills you in the end. As a parent, it is your job to teach your kids anything that will help make it a little easier for them. So who has it easier in life than others? Well, generally the "cool kids."
Ah, cool kids: Popular, attractive, well dressed, charming, effervescent, effortless. And despite what uncool kids might desperately hope, there's no karmic retribution for being cool. Cool kids become cool adults and opportunities, successes, and sex are just naturally attracted to them. Blake Lively, Adam Levine, Vladimir Putin. They're beautiful, they're talented, they rule this planet with an iron fist. Don't quote me the statistical outliers like a Bill Gates, Sara Bareilles, or Ben Stein - they are the ungainly exceptions that prove the rule.
Look at your child? Are they schlubby? Awkward? Plain? Are they wearing sweats? Picking their nose? Reading a book? If you answered, "Yes," then you are a bad parent.
Cool kids get ahead. Your kid gets a swirly.
If you don't start changing their habits now, they're in for a lifetime spent in heartbreak, defeat, and purchasing multi-cat clumping litter wholesale. So how do you keep your kid out of the nerd herd, the odd squad, the moron salon? (OK, I made up that last appellation, but you catch my drift.)
Here are a few baby steps your child can take today towards being too cool for even preschool:
Despite what the surgeon general might insist, smoking is just about the coolest thing you can do. (And how uncool is the Surgeon General? Rear Admiral Boris Lusniak? Please! No one cool has "rear" right in their name.)
Smoking is practically shorthand for coolness. You look romantic, mysterious, assured, aloof, and it gives you something to do with your hands. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it causes low birth weight and aggressive cancers of the head and neck, but, you know what, dude? You gotta die of somethin'.
Famous smokers: Humphrey Bogart. Tallulah Bankhead, Steve McQueen, Sammy Davis, Jr., Rod Serling, Rosemary Clooney, Yul Brynner, Jacquie Onassis, James Dean. SO COOL! And James Dean did NOT die of smoking-related illness!
Now, your kid isn't going to want to smoke if they know you want them to smoke. Listening to your parents is not cool. So, chastise them about the dangers of smoking, then leave some clandestine smokes where they think you won't want them to look. Perhaps between your marital aids and your ammunition. Boom! Cool kid!
This isn't to say that cool kids are bullies - bullying is blatant overcompensation for the effects of crappy parenting and is not cool. Cool kids bully in their heads, because they know how much cooler they are than the spastic, flailing masses. Teach your kid as soon as they are old enough to make out faces to quickly identify weakness and flaws like unevenly applied bronzers, bad grammar, thick wallets, and bum knees, then store that information in a safe place until it's time to SWEEP THE LEG.
Cool kids don't need to tell you what they think of you - you can look into their eyes and just tell.
Coolness is about effortlessness. It is about skating through your surroundings even though you aren't wearing skates, like Gumby without the asymmetrical head. It is about being so slick even eggs won't stick. Remember that old antiperspirant slogan, "Never Let 'Em See You Sweat"? Well, the best way to avoid perspiration is to avoid exertion. Standing in the corner is the very best way to show off, because you are showing everyone you are above their quotidian labors - like a Deist God who wound up the Universe and walked away from it. It also gives you a great vantage point for Sitting in Quiet Judgment (see above). Let the other kids build the block tower, then declare yourself king of said tower.
Remember, no Pharaoh ever built his own pyramid.
Cool kids dress cool: Ray-Bans, leather jackets, flat front khakis with Chuck Taylors. They are memorable without being conspicuous. They are everyday glamorous, because they are not trying too hard. That's the difference between being cool and being hip: hipness takes all kinds of effort. Hipness says, "I thought about how distressed this T-shirt should be. I saw these Keds in a Wes Anderson movie. I AM WEARING A WEIRD HAT." Coolness says, "I got out of bed and a well-fitted, coordinated outfit fluttered down from sartorial heaven and landed on me. Hipsters are ironic. They are always telling you what they DON'T mean: "Can you believe how ugly this sweater is? I had to go to five resale shops to find something this disgusting!" "This shirt is for a band I HATE." "My house is full of antique typewriters, banjos, and bicycles with giant front wheels, and I have no idea why."
Cool kids only say what they actually mean, and what they mean is, "I care about nothing." Let your kid radiate Banana Republic while the hipster kid is busy sticking handlebar mustaches on everything.
Aaaaaay. What's cooler than that? Not a damned thing! Of course, jukeboxes are hard to come by these days, so start by having your child practice turning on your iTunes playlist by hitting your phone with their fist. (Note: Neither the White Dad Problems Comedy Podcast nor Chicago Parent or its partner organizations take responsibility for your broken media players.)
Nurturing your child into a charismatic figure will help them someday become celebrities, lobbyists, heads of state, and captains of industry, and it will help draw them towards like individuals, resulting in attractive partners and fetching, well-received grandchildren. And the payoff isn't just down the road - even a toddler can earn all the coos from the other parents at Starbucks, all the hugs from the other kids at Gymboree, and always be first in line for the slide.
It's time to turn off "Super Why!" and teach your kids something of value: Be cool.
Viva Rocco (Age 2), Cool Dude, 2013, Magna Doodle
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