Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Its all about being cool. It takes either a strong human or a very arrogant one to believe wholly in their own coolness.
I have always questioned mine. Outwardly I may appear not to but I do yearn as do all other aspiring kings to public acclaim. Nothing says to your self that you are cool like someone else telling you how cool you are. My early role models made very sure to grind into my head that while I may be cool; I would never ever in a million years of ice coolness be as cool as them. That was ok with me as long as I got to be near them, bask in the reflected freon exuding from them in waves.
People change, tastes change, fashions come and go. Coolness fades to lukewarm and finally into dorkdom. Age has a big part to play in this descent into mediocrity. The young look at the old as being hopelessly lost, so far removed from the world of the young that they might as well be on another planet if not universe. The old, the cool ones, look on youth with understanding and patience. Remembering when they too were young. Those that live in the kingdom of dork get mad at the youth, indeed they get mad or upset at anyone that does not live act dress and dork exactly like they do. Blinders of Dork.
I try to be cool to the young, especially if they are relations. I want to be the cool uncle, the one that shows up to the family reunion and makes it into a PARTY! So, I do things with them. Play video games in which they kill my vidself over and over. Laughing at my incompetence. I listen to their music and I try to be gentle in providing useless advice. I never listened to advice, why in all the green earth would I expect them to listen to mine? Which begs another question for another time, what makes me think I am even worth listening to? I am no better or smarter or wiser then them, I just happen to be older. Which means, jack shit really.
I was playing with my brothers a while back, lighting illegal fireworks. The kind that shoot in the air and explode. When we were kids we would shoot them at the neighbors, at each other, at everything. It was so much fun. Whats a little scorching and ear ringing? It passes. Memories like that, fertilized with adrenaline and laughter grow into memories that last forever. I try not to think about it when I am in the middle of things but sometimes I think I may push myself just a little harder then actually necessary because that is always in the back of my mind.
I was lighting these rockets and watching them shoot into the air with the brothers and the children's, all the nephews and a few of the nieces. Wanting this memory for them I started to throw the lit rockets. If you time it just right it shoots up further, wrong and it ignites in your hand. Scorching a bit. Really wrong and it shoots back at you, scattering a herd of laughing nephews, dispersing them as effectively as a call to do chores or say prayers.
It was going great, I had won some and lost some. To be fair I had become quite scorched. Out of practice no doubt. I had just tried a double and my brothers and I were laughing at our youth, fuelling our own memories while planting some in the children I hoped. Keeping up with the youth as I do (riiight) I was not surprised when nephew numero 3, the oldest of my younger brothers boys said "Uncle Tom, you're on fire!" Being the expert on current teenage slang I knew that he was just saying I was cool, Really, how cool am I? Pretty damn cool for this nephew to realize it. So I lit a triple and as they shoot everywhere my nephew said again "No, Uncle Tom! you're really ON FIRE" The hero worship in his voice seemed a bit strained so I turned to see what was up.
In turning I felt and saw that I actually was ON FIRE. My shirt was spouting flames, not politely smoldering as we should expect modern tech fabrics to do (maybe that's only pajamas?) but actually flaming. I forgot my coolness, screamed like a pinched teenage girl and dropped to the ground inside the house using my moms favorite rug to smother my shirt. Did I forget to mention that we were all standing out on the deck of my parents house?
I am pretty sure that I burned that memory into their minds. The combination of flames, screams, rolling and yelling combined to make them all remember. What a goofball their uncle Tom is.
I tried.

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