It’s Cool

Quote of the Day:

Where do you want it?” –Billy Joe Shaver

TB’s come to a conclusion, gradually I guess, over the last thirty years or so. Moma, Daddy, Teacher, Coach, Preacher and even my ARB’s were wrong about something important. Tryin’ to be cool is alright. In fact, that’s exactly what all of us ought to be doin’ a lot more. What they really meant, whether they knew it or not, was “don’t try to be cool and fail.”

I wrote about this before awhile back, but a strange confluence of contacts today has me cogitatin’ on the subject again. The first thing I saw on Facebook this morning was a Paul Newman quote, seems today’s his birthday. Newman is the cat that inspired my old post. The guy that honored his birthday is an old friend and classmate. He was running marathons last spring, then by summer he was hairless and wan, attacked by cancer. All fall and winter he posted a daily update about the challenges in his life and treatment. Many of the posts showcased an intact sense of humor and all of his messages revealed an amazing sense of optimism. Very cool. Then he got the word he was cancer-free. Even better.

Then at lunch today I heard a song by Whitey Morgan and the 78’s called “Where Do You Want It.” It’s a re-telling of Billy Joe Shaver’s 2007 shooting incident in Waco, Texas. Seems Billy Joe was being harassed by a man in a bar and at some point he got threatened with a knife. Billy Joe responded by pulling a handgun and asking his assailant, “Where do you want it?” Now that’s cool. Then he shot the dude in the face. Questionable, that decision, but a jury in 2010 saw it as self-defense.

My mind wandered during the 78’s satellite performance to other examples of cool. I thought about a friend who used play in a popular touring band but then decided to settle down to family life, raise a couple of boys and now he records music designed more for the soul than the sale. I thought about a girl who has traveled the world in service to others and now teaches school. She still travels to far-flung ports, but gets to do it for fun now. I thought about a conversation I once had with BW Buzz.

We were still in high school and at a party. Buzz had some girl interested in him but he was blowing the deal acting a little too goofy. Just a little case of nerves, no different than anyone else, but it was coming out all wrong. For some reason he came to me because he knew he was in trouble and asked what he needed to do. “Damn, Buzz, just be cool.” Sage advice, even if I didn’t really know what in the hell I was talkin’ about. Worked too, she kissed him. And then he went right back to bein’ goofy, ’cause, well, that’s who he was. I don’t know why that little vignette has stuck with me all these years. But upon reflection, maybe it’s because that’s how ol’ Buzz was cool–just bein’ himself. Another thing about Buzz, he’ll laugh first and most heartily at a story told at his expense. And that’s pretty cool too.

Back in the 1960’s Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart remarked that while he could not precisely define pornography, “I know it when I see it.” “Cool” is like that too. It is best defined by knowing it when you see it, of that I’m sure. Even so, I think I’ll take a stab at something more suitable for Webster’s next edition.* Cool is when somebody handles a situation better than the observer believes he could himself. And it’s a status to which I continually aspire, in spite of lots of well-meaning advice to the contrary.

*Webster’s defines “cool” as “being fashionably attractive or impressive.”  I guess they thought that sounded better than “we know it when we see it.”

 

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About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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21 Responses to It’s Cool

  1. Jessie Lou says:

    Cool, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

  2. Smilyj says:

    “What fun is it being cool if you can’t wear a sombrero?”-Calvin and Hobbes

    “The Firefighter that loses his head and can’t be cool, is worse than no firefighter at all.”-SmilyJ

  3. sweet says:

    smily’s bald body is cool

  4. I’ve been trying to come up with a cool comment, but I can’t think of one. Now I’ll get back to crocheting this Honk If You Love Apps pillowcase.

  5. Jessie Lou says:

    Now that was cool and funny! But I won’t be able to honk.

  6. larry says:

    I am sure you have not been the only person to offer that advice to BW. Oh, baby!

    I thought I would drop a Friday out season list.

    Pyscho Killer – Talking Heads
    Breakdown Dead Ahead – Boz Scaggs
    Candy Everybody Wants – 10000 Maniacs
    Fat Bottom Girls – Queen
    Carefree Highway – Gordon Lightfoot

  7. tinyd says:

    Thanks for playing Larry! Great minds obviously think alike…

    Panama – Van Halen
    Stuck in a Moment – U2
    Good Things Get Better – Keaton Simons
    (whole CD is awesome – thanks Zeek!)
    Tall Tall Trees – Alan Jackson
    Alternative Girlfriend – BareNaked Ladies

  8. Jessie Lou says:

    Love the Boz Skaggs – I have the “Silk Degrees” Album, also love him on the “Urban Cowboy” soundtrack. Can’t think of the name of that song but can hear it in my head and it goes well with this weather.

    Also love BareNakedLadies – One Week – great song.

    5 minutes to the Friday Whistle – cannot wait.

  9. Larry says:

    Love look what you’ve done to me. Love urban cowboy

  10. ZEEK says:

    Take from Zeekdaddy, the coolest of the cool, the way to be cool is to just be yourself my brother.

  11. Jessie Lou says:

    That is it Larry – great song from my high school days. I had that cassette.

    Zeke – you could not be more correct.

    Got to see some of the pregame activities with Fig – it was great to see him. It was even better to see the Packers win with a Jackson County connection on their team – Go 71! WLOX was even at the house – go to their website to see it if you missed it last night due to the channel going out.

  12. Harmony says:

    Hooray for tunes! Here’s some from me:

    Spiderbait ~“Fucken Awesome”

    Wyclef Jean Ft: John Forte & Pras ~ “We Be Trying to Stay Alive”

    The following song use to play in the background of my childhood nights, lying in bed; surrounded by clouds of smoke, everything seemed so much clearer on those nights. I’d finally give into curiosity and sneak to the sheet hung in the hall, lay on the floor and peek beneath it to see to what was happening on the other side. I’d always wake up the following morning in bed, not remembering when or how I got there. Horslips ~ Trouble with a Capital T

  13. Jessie Lou says:

    I’ve got some too:

    September – Earth, Wind and Fire
    Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
    Come Fly With Me – Frank Sinatra
    You’ll Never Find – Lou Rawls
    Love Me Tender – Elvis Presley

  14. RockStarRambler says:

    Thanks for the tunes! Random playlist:

    Rescue Me – The Alarm
    Waterfall – The Stone Roses
    Stone Cold Yesterday – The Connells
    Size of a Cow – The Wonder Stuff
    The Whole of the Moon – The Waterboys

    Have a good weekend TBU!

  15. tiny d says:

    If we are voting, my points go to JL. Love Me Tender gets me everytime 🙂 Thanks for the tunes y’all – I needed an infusion!

  16. Jessie Lou says:

    Thanks TinyD – I was trying to add a little Valentine’s Day Love to the TBU!

  17. Ok, TB’s back.

    Before I get to the pontificatin’ and raconteurin’ though, here’s my list which pretty much covers the last couple of weeks.

    Enjoy the Silence/Sounds of Silence mashup–Depeche Mode/Simon and Garfunkel
    This A’Way–N. Miss Allstars
    Musta’ Got Lost–J. Geil’s Band
    This F***in’ Job–Drive-By Truckers
    Kick it in Second Wind–Jimmy Buffett

    SOTW–Something to Say–Connells

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