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
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
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
If you enjoyed this essay, subscribe to the WDP podcast for
free on iTunes! You can also listen at whitedadproblems.com. (Do
note that the show has a potty mouth and is definitely for Over 17
Only.) And follow the Dads on Facebook and on Twitter:
White Dad Problems is now The Paternity Test. Head to the new blog page for more great content.
See more of White Dad Problems's stories here.
Let us plan your weekend with the best family events and activities in Chicagoland.
Start the week right with deals, prizes, parent life hacks and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Need last-minute ideas for a weekend of family fun? No worries. We've got you.
Get the inside scoop on the people, places and things we are loving right now.
Resources, tips, inspiration and more for parents of children with special needs.
Score exclusive offers from our fabulous advertisers.