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2005-09-24 @ 10:54 p.m.
coolness dna rules, but not everyone has it


It was only today when I was in the car with ďJĒ and one of his clients ďEĒ that I realized that they were both trying to impress me by talking about a local peace march that was to take place in our town. It seemed weird because neither of them are particularly the type that would normally attend such a demonstration, but it all came out of a comment I made when I saw a John Kerry bumpersticker and wondered aloud how HE would have handled the whole Hurricane Katrina thing. And they both know Iím a liberal and they were soon jumping on the whole rightous liberal bandwagon talking about Kerry with ďEĒ saying he might like to attend the peace demonstration and maybe get arrested (that was a joke) and then we were soon involved in a lively conversation about politics.

My theory? They think Iím cool. They want to like what I like. They want to randomly come up with the same opinions as me, because if they do, they think Iíll like them and then they can become part of the secret cool wittykitty entourage and than others will be impressed when theyíre seen with me and...and...and. The only problem is, Iím not really cool. Its really all smoke and mirrors, my friends. I can write like Iím cool, but man, Iím like a major league geekasaurus. Itís just that Iíve managed to fool a couple of people here and there.

Iíve actually never been part of the cool gang. Ever. I once got nominated by my teacher for Class President in 7th grade and then nobody voted for me. Can you imagine what it felt like when Sr. Ambrose tallied the votes and it was Shirley Clifford 37, wittykitty 0. It was freaking humiliating. I did enjoy a brief burst of popularity in high school when I wrote a fictitious advice column called Dear Milly Mellow. People would write in with their teenagy problems and then I would give them really witheringly sarcastic advice (yes, I know its hard to believe that I could be sarcastic). The column was the most popular thing in the newspaper, but you know what? Nobody knew I was Milly Mellow. It was a secret. So here I was incredibly popular, but nobody knew who I was. And thatís pretty much been my life ever since. Great writing chops. Blank invisible human presence.

That is until recently, when Iíve started picking up a few people, who for some god-forsaken reason, think that Iím worth idolizing. And for some reason it is far more uncomfortable than I realized. Like the Lesbian Chick at work who is always following me around and showing me that sheís an artist by carrying sketch books and sitting in our lobby reading a huge art book about Impressionism, because she knew I would be in and see her. It all makes me very uncomfortable. I donít know how to react to it. I guess its because Iíve always been the person who idolizes others. Even on diaryland.

When I was first writing on diaryland, I had an absolute crush on a writer called TVZero. I absolutely couldnít wait to see his name in red everyday and I used to write him notes all the time. I think I was even perhaps (cough) flirting with him even though he was a mere lad of 20 something. And then he finally wrote back a generic ďthanks for readingĒ note and I was totally over the moon. HE NOTICED ME!! Woo! I guess it was then that I realized how easy it was for people to idolize you without knowing you and how easy it was to create a persona that could induce that kind of behavior.

Because to be honest, when I first started writing on díland, I was just vaguely aware that people were actually reading my entries. I had almost 10,000 hits before I even put a counter on my diary. And then I started getting notes from a teenager in Florida, and they were very sweet. And they apparently they thought I was pretty cool. And, at the point, I was living in my miserable little moldy basement apartment and Guardcat was near death from the mold and I was angry all the time and I used to write these angry little missives about my neighbors and Married Guy and Zenshrink and yet someone thought I was cool. It was inconceivable.

I still personally have a couple of cases of idol worship on diaryland, but Iím not going to tell you who they are. Theyíre just people whose writing I really admire and I sometimes wish they would acknowledge my existence. Now how sad is that? Me needing some stranger out in cyberspace to acknowledge my existence? But I guess the whole world is like a huge version of high school in a way. We all want to be one of the cool kids, right?

I think really the only place I donít feel geeky is in my art class. I mean, who knows, maybe people are laughing behind my back, I donít know, but I really feel like Iím part of the community there and that people like me and that because Iím there week after week, that Iím almost like part of the landscape. You know, you go to draw, and you see wittykitty sitting there drawing wildly with all her pastels strewn about in a big colorful mess. Or she's kibitzing with Charlemagne the Obnoxious French Guy or taking ticket money or adjusting the light on the model or burying her arm up to her elbow in the Doritoís chip bag while chatting with ďLĒ the hippie chick about chipotle-osity. Because after going there for almost 2 years, its really the first time I have almost felt even .0001% cool on my own.

Iíve always had to derive my feelings of confidence/coolness from other people. I was only good if THEY thought I was good. Married Guy, for instance, was the first person in my life, who ever really built up my intellectual confidence. I had never really felt particularly smart before (despite honor roll grades in everything except math and being in Whoís Who in American High Schools). We had a lot of intellectual discussions about politics and life, and he introduced me to NPR radio and he entrusted me with my first decision making role which nobody had ever done before. And for some reason, he totally believed I could put an entire newspaper out by myself (I sure didnít). And his confidence in me, eventually gave me confidence in myself, and it totally took flight with the design of the newspaper. I even started writing stories for it. In fact one of the cover stories I wrote was eventually picked up by a larger political publication and reprinted. Married Guy was very proud of me. And I soaked it up like a sponge.

So I guess the trickle down theory applies to coolness too. Because I feel that everyone, or almost everyone has their own little group of people who think that theyíre cool (even Richard Simmons!!) and even if its not true, the feeling of acceptance by a group of people is worth far more than some stupid little thing called coolness. Right?

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