Keepin’ It Reality Yo

jack-top-done

I wanna know what you’re thinking.

As a person that constitutes a form of life (or so I assume) there are two realities that I’m reasonably sure exist:

  1. My own (that I’m fairly familiar with)
  2. All that other shits

Note: If you get lumped in with the latter group please don’t take it personally. I don’t make the rules.

Even with the stark duality of this view, however, I imagine certain explorations into that other realm where y’all live are still possible.

For example, using inference, deduction and other external stimuli, I can attempt to discern what’s going on in that gray matter you recklessly call a brain. Clues might include things like your primitive vocalizations, ritualistic dance and other movements, and how you are adorned.

That plumage on your head in the form of a fedora speaks volumes. I interpret that as a rather pronounced attempt to establish position within your group. Am I right? Judging actual intent of other life forms can be tricky. It’s always murky guesswork. But I’m pretty sure I nailed it.

I mentioned to my wife the other day that I would deliberately do the opposite of what I really wanted if I perceived that it might be perceived by other people as an attempt to be cool. Think about it. That’s a very deep thought. I’d literally do the exact opposite of what I want, which, by definition, is that which I hate.

I’m committed. And now, a brief case study.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I moved into a culture where there was a bleeding edge trend for some inane biologically-based characteristic, like facial hair.

Like everything you learned in elementary school, the process takes the form of a cycle.

Trends Of The Cool Cycle

  1. The natural formative circumstances germinate in a homogenized group in a state of status quo stagnation.
  2. A handful of trendsetting outlier individuals within the group define a new radical trait which is so jarringly different that it establishes a new baseline for cool.
  3. The first iteration of secondary adopters begins deteriorating the cool.
  4. Each additional iteration of adopters continues to erode cool at a predictable rate.
  5. Tipping point: A temporary balance within the population between those who have adopted the characteristic and those who have not. From this point on adopters are actually less cool than non-adopters.
  6. Normalization: The moment the group perceives non adopters as the new outliers.
  7. Enforcement: The group begins to enforce socialization penalties on non-adopters.
  8. When status quo stagnation is achieved, the process begins at Step 1 with a new characteristic.

In my case, I recently moved into a population where facial hair is on the upswing. I prefer to remain clean shaven. I like the way shaving makes my face feel just like the wood chipper scene in Fargo. So refreshing. I especially like splashing alcohol-based products directly into fresh cuts.

But now I’m get worried. What if, due to beard overload, the pendulum swings the other way? What if being clean shaven becomes the new cool?

That will be the day I begin growing a beard. Even though I’ll hate it.

4 responses

  1. Hey, You posted one of my favorite videos! The true cool is not to know what cool is and just be yourself. and no one does that better than you! However, I’m not cool, so you are at great risk paying attention to any of my life suggestions.

    My father, an aeronautical engineer, said that if you want to know which male fashion is just about to go out of style see what engineers are doing. He said that as he waxed his mustache into points during his brief period masquerading as Salvador Dali. Everyone else was clean-shaven at that point. He reveled in being the last to take up any style. Sort of a canary in the coal mine.

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    1. With some of the beards I’ve encountered during my Portland travels sometimes it quite literally is hard not to laugh. I’m well aware that my brain is projecting my own crap and doesn’t really know the intent of another human’s brain, but it sure seems like it does. I’ve had a problem with posers since my high school days. My best friend was on the football team and was very, very preoccupied with being “cool.” He had to dress a certain way. He had to have a cowboy hat with a feather band that he took in for “blocking” all the time. He had to have a certain car. It all felt so calculated, fake and needy to me. I used to give him a lot of shit about it. I feel proud when I think that my convictions go that far back. 🙂

      I never worried about any of that shit and instead reveled in playing the role of social pariah. I guess you could say that’s a tradition I still maintain but doing the opposite of what I perceive to be cool.

      I agree with “be yourself.” The hell with everything else. Your father was right and sounds like a very astute guy! Lucky you!

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  2. Snoring Dog Studio | Reply

    I’ll hate it if you grow a beard and stache, too. I cannot abide facial hair, on men or women. But have no fear – you possess an inner coolness that no one can degrade by attempting to mimic it. Personally, there wasn’t a moment in my life that I was considered, “cool.” I have the anti-cool gene.

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    1. I reveal in being anti-cool. And never fear: As long as shaving physically hurts like hell I’ll keep at it!

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