I once believed that being cool was being the happiest and most successful. For the twenty years I was in school—I started preschool when I was three and didn’t graduate from college until I was twenty-three—I felt this way. Even up to the bitter end, I was always under the impression that the popular kids really had it all. And, in a way, they did: friends, good looks, decent grades, money, cars. Nothing ever seemed to go wrong in the world of the “cool” kids.
And I specifically remember a time when I was almost a member of this ever-elusive crowd. Granted, it was in elementary school, but this was a time when almost everyone was considered cool. Unless of course you chewed on rubber bands and puked up your lunch almost every day.
Since I went to a very small private school, everybody knew pretty much everybody else. Our families were friends because of church, and we all played Kid Sports together. There were camping trips for Memorial Day Weekend, and pool parties in the summer (I sometimes wonder if I was in this crowd solely because my parents had an eight-foot deep underground pool in their backyard). And the only thing that triggered fights among us was when someone didn’t sit next to you in the cafeteria.
I still wonder whether any of this makes any difference at all. Did it matter that my siblings went to the same school as I did even though they were five and seven years older? Did it really matter that my sister was homecoming princess the first three years she attended high school and homecoming queen her senior year, or that my brother was captain of the football team, dating the captain of the cheerleaders? I felt that way then, most definitely. But now I don’t even know why I obsessed about it so much.
Because no matter who or what you were in your youth, you change so much (mostly for the better) in your young adult days. The time when cheerleaders and queens turn into businesswomen and mothers, and football players go on to be Captains in the US Army. And what have I made for myself? Well, a college degree, a great husband, and a decent job. Alright, so I have it pretty great. And I have grasped the fact that I have never and will never be “cool”. But this does not even matter in the slightest. Not one bit.
For me, it began in high school. Was I popular or was I not? There was really no way of knowing at the time, because I still had a lot of the same friends that I had in middle school. I was lucky enough to have an outside source, which we referred to as “public school know-how.” She was my gateway to the outside world, and she was my best friend. Not to mention we were related. No one ever believed that we were cousins because we were polar opposites when it came to about everything. She was tall and slender with a knack for fashion and a keen sense of street smarts, and I was short and full-figured with a passionate love for music and an affinity for quoting random movie lines. But our personalities seemed to click. You know what they say: opposites attract.
I believe humor is the key to a joyful existence, and I felt that I needed to laugh at any chance I could. Whether it was some dumb inside joke about a blooper on Growing Pains, or the first time we cussed in front of our parents, humor brought us closer together. When you can forget that you are most desperately trying to be cool and make an ass out of yourself in front of your shirtless, seventh-grade crush. It seemed that’s where friends tended to split: when humors clashed. Or maybe it was morals, but I guess I’ll never know. I guess getting drunk and sleeping around in high school was cool for some people, but at the time, I was just shocked to find out some of the stuff people did, especially when it was my closest friends.
Note: This Hub is simply an excerpt. It is unfinished, and I intend on revisiting it in the future.
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