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Playing it Cool

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

Many years ago, rock star Jon Von Jovi was asked to share the secrets to being cool. Von Jovi didn't hesitate. "Drink coffee every morning. Don't leave the house without sunglasses. And whatever you do, don't ever drive a minivan." I shrunk a little, knowing that there was a silver one-of-those parked in my driveway.

Being cool can mean different things to different people. For example, one summer day in Laguna Beach, I watched a young man, James, plant himself and his guitar right in the middle of a stair climb. This nook is known as the Thousand Steps. This beach artery is a way to-and-from the sand, but it's also a grueling climb. Some people use it as a form of exercise. Once you've made the climb three times, your legs can start to tremble. For whatever reason, James decided to simply sit on the sidelines, and play his guitar. He wasn't asking for donations. He was simply letting his tunes vibe with the ocean breeze.

As I climbed the stairs, with shortness of breath, I smiled, "Wow. That's really cool that you're just playing music in the middle of this climb." Our surfer-style musician simply uttered, "...knaw what I'm sayin". This made him that much more cooler.

James got me thinking about the many cool things people do. Then I wondered, when have I done something cool? As I scanned my memory, I panicked. I couldn't think of anything. I texted my daughter, Gabby, in New York City. She offered, "Well, how bout when those street performers, in Times Square, jumped over you in the middle of the cheering crowd? That was cool." Yeah, but that wasn't me doing it. After a few hours, I finally remembered a time, when someone told me I was cool.

This goes way back to when the Olympics came to Los Angeles. Yes, very telling of my age. Anyway, the torch made its way through the Southbay area. My friend, Ross, and I happened to be riding our road bikes, when somehow we ended up behind the torch runners. Someone handed us American flags, and there we went. We became part of the torch-run's informal caboose; we rode and waved our flags. The crowds cheered for everyone. We rode near a convalescent home. Some of the residents had been wheeled out to watch the event. I took notice of an elderly woman, in a wheelchair; her eyes sparkled with hope. I stopped my bike and handed her my flag. Her smile widened and she clapped eagerly with flag in hand. It was as if a genie had granted her wishes. Later that day, Ross looked at me and said, "You know, that was really cool what you did, giving that lady your flag."

I asked my boyfriend if he recalled a time when he felt cool. He said that though he grew up poor in South L.A., living with his mother in a rented room, he managed to take up bowling. He was just 15 years old, and bowled a 267 game. A large crowd gathered as they watched him bowl 9 consecutive strikes. He felt cool.

I hope that you, the reader, don't have to scroll too far back in search for your cool moments. I am certain that everyday people do cool things regularly. With just a few words, we can send affirmation their way. Why not point out their coolness? Encourage acts of kindness, moments of excellence, simple gift-sharing. Why not give a cool nod to those, who, like James, help strum away our heavy loads?

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