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Back in the Day: A Primer on Being "Cool"

Updated on May 15, 2010
This was how I spent my summer ... being "cool"
This was how I spent my summer ... being "cool"

Are You Cool?

Although it sounds completely biased, my wife and I have two of the greatest boys ever. Their unique circus of reckless abandon, coupled with their extreme softness, brings total joy to our hearts. Sure they have their moments. Don’t we ALL. But for the most part, our dynamic duo is pretty cool; which, if you ask each one, is the number one goal of their kid-centered world.

Being cool. What is it? How do you get it? And why is it so important to kids?

In our home, these time-worn questions linger like dried-up nacho dip. I haven’t a clue. Here’s a case in point.

A few nights back, while enjoying a rare, evening coffee, I was privileged to share a funny, yet enlightening, conversation with one of the neighborhood girls who lives down the street. - I’ll call her Little A.

Ever since our home became a popular stomping ground for many local children, such talks are common. What seems unusual, however, is that almost all these children are girls; which is not necessarily a bad thing.

At first, my wife and I thought this was a bit odd, but it’s true. Our boys are the only boys on the block that play outside. Where are the other testosterone pumpers? To this day we still don’t know. But we’ve grown so accustomed to our gypsy girls (as we like to call them) they really seem like boys to us. And to be totally honest, they act like boys; reckless abandon and all. They like to, as I've often heard: hang with the boys.

The gypsies think they’re cool. Our boys like to think they’re cool. So I guess everybody’s cool around our neck of the woods; everybody except my wife and I that is. Allow me to explain.

“Little A, what kind of phone is that?” I ask.

“Mr. Jundt, this is not a phone. It’s an mp3 player, a camera, it plays games, I can text people, it has different sounds and pictures… it can play the trumpet,”… (You get the picture). Well obviously I don’t because all I saw was a blasted phone. And mind you, these children are 8 years old. So much for being cool in my little world.

“You know, back in the day (don’t you just love that saying?), we didn’t have MP3 players, or DVDs, or video games, or even….. HUSH goes the crowd ... cell phones," I added.

You could have heard a pin drop as the silence entered. Finally, little A asked me,

“Did you have phones at all?” I thought for a while as to how far I would take this charade, but in the end I caved.

“Yes, of course we had phones. The trick was that they all had cords attached, and they were hooked to the wall. You couldn’t just walk and talk in the park or wherever like people do today.”

“Well that sounds kind of boring really,” she replied.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. It was kind of boring. But you know what? Sometimes boring can be fun and a lot less stressful.”

The word stress seemed to strike a chord with her, because she said that being stressful is bad. Or so she had heard.

“Did you have a TV?” Lil' A questioned.

“Yes.”

“Did you watch animal planet?”

“Little A, there were no animals on the planet back in the day,” I replied, silently chuckling.

“Really?”

“Yes, really”

“Did you have pets?”

“Remember, no animals. Right?”

Well, this couldn’t go on any longer. So I finally fessed up to my little lies. I did tell her, though, how we had one TV with only 5 channels.

“What did you watch then?”

“Most of the time we didn’t watch TV. We played outside. Rode our bikes (with no helmets), drank from the hose (with no filters), climbed trees, jumped into creeks, imagined great battles, became great heroes, threw balls around, broke bones, broke each other’s bones, got muddy, learned curse words (without our parents knowing), played games, read books, learned about God, and ate dinner before 6:30 (without the TV on).”

“Wow Mr. Jundt, that doesn’t sound very cool.”

I rest my point.

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    • jesusmyjoy profile image

      Betty Bolden 6 years ago from Bucyrus Ohio

      thank you so much for the comment on my hub..God bless you..

    • Rob Jundt profile image
      Author

      Rob Jundt 6 years ago from Midwest USA

      Everminding,

      Thanks for your kind comments. I, too, believe that kids should be allowed to be kids in the great outdoors. Even with my own children sometimes it is a struggle between activity and the various types of screen time. With the prevalence of child obesity and diabetes on the rise, getting kids outside and actually moving almost has to be an intentional act for many of us. Once again, thanks for reading.

      RJ

    • Everminding profile image

      Everminding 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      good story,rob, i always had my kids outside playing, i just joined hubpages and i'd like to recommend a great book, it's called,"when i was your age" by amy ehrlich. it's a compilation of original stories about growing up by various children authors.

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Fun Hub!! I look forward to reading more. Too funny about 'the kids' on the block. They just can not imagine Black and White TV. Enjoyed the read. Be cool brother.

      Hugs your cool sister at the hubs.

    • bjspivey-rivers profile image

      bjspivey-rivers 7 years ago

      Funny how "cool" never goes out of style. Wonderful story. I remember telling my kids when they were small that we didn't even have fire when I was a kid. And they believed me! I, too, had to fess up. Kids are such fun. They really are cool.

    • susanlang profile image

      susanlang 7 years ago

      Rob: Very good read "we the uncool" are committed to staying that way no matter what...well...except for my cell phone ;) When you brought up the tv with only having 5 channels I had to laugh.. as I remember that myself. Back in the day we had 5 channels which no one had to pay for AND there was much less advertising. Now you pay out your A** and even the weather channel is loaded with ads.

      Go figure. I liked it better when things were LESS complex.

      Enjoyed this story, thanks for sharing and rated up!

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 7 years ago from home

      Oh i am consistant i am always wrong ask my wife LOL COL seriously my eldest son says I am a good dad a little strict some times then he asks why am i asking.. why is the earth round why did the soviet union break up which is better marxism or socialism...Why did pangea break up hes 11 now going on 31....

    • Rob Jundt profile image
      Author

      Rob Jundt 7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Tom: Sounds a little like our home ... consistency is sometimes an elusive behavior for sure.

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 7 years ago from home

      great job, kids are great and trouble i got 3 and i sometimes wonder if they are related and other times I have no doubt. i leave alot of things to "fate"- Heads your grounded for 2 days tails 1 day....They all know

      I am not normal I am fair but abnormal. sounds like youve got a good handle....

    • Rob Jundt profile image
      Author

      Rob Jundt 7 years ago from Midwest USA

      teairramarrie: thanks for stopping by, and yes, I'm with you. Life is hard enough without trying to be someone you're not. Have a great day!

    • teairramarrie profile image

      teairramarrie 7 years ago

      "nothing's cooler than being the real you...", are you with me with this? :)

    • Rob Jundt profile image
      Author

      Rob Jundt 7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Coffeesnob: Yes, you are so right. And it's cool being uncool; at least I like to think. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

    • Rob Jundt profile image
      Author

      Rob Jundt 7 years ago from Midwest USA

      mse: how odd it is to be so uncool these days. Looking back, my parents "seemed" to be on the square side as well--with their Elvis records and all. Thanks for the comment!

    • Rob Jundt profile image
      Author

      Rob Jundt 7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Breakfastpop: Thanks for the too-kind comment. I thought this was a fun one to write. Thanks for dropping by!

    • profile image

      coffeesnob 7 years ago

      Being uncool is the new cool right?

    • mse profile image

      mse 7 years ago from texas

      Welcome to the uncool parent club. My kids have asked me if I had TV when I was little!! Great article.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Now you are what I consider to be "the real deal" and very very "cool". Great piece.