Cool People Are Rare

Food for Thought @ Ends Meat

So far, everything I bought from Ends Meat has been superb. And, from reading the about page on their website, I get the sense that they are one of the coolest butchers, um, I mean “salumerias” in the city. I’m not cool enough to know whether the plural of salumeria is actually salumerias.

I was talking to my wife and daughter about what makes someone “cool.” We ran through the list of people we think are cool, and surprisingly, there wasn’t much disagreement. For a concept as elusive and subjective as “cool,” it seemed miraculous that our opinions aligned.

The quality I found in common among all of them is that they have their fingers on the pulse of our culture, but there are some caveats. Firstly, my kid pointed out that this has to be effortless. Anyone who is constantly making an effort to be on top of things isn’t cool; he is more likely a wannabe. Truly cool people breathe in the culture almost unconsciously.

Also, they cannot just be on top of popular culture; they must achieve some depth and be ahead of the curve. Their interests cannot be too narrow and autistic either. This is where I become decidedly uncool because my interests are highly focused and obscure. To be cool, you cannot lose sight of the big picture, but, at the same time, you have to have a good sense of what is relevant to our culture now. You cannot simply collect trivial facts like the Jeopardy champions.

When I moved to New York for college, I knew practically nothing about American culture. My coolest friend Jordan @jonahfwd gave me a crash course on it for four years. I learned more from him than I did from any teachers. He dragged me everywhere and introduced me to everything from the hippest night clubs, culturally relevant writers and thinkers, emerging bands and artists, critically acclaimed films, to trendiest restaurants. He took me, for instance, to a Nirvana concert before they became famous at a small venue with a few hundred people in the audience. Thanks to Jordan, I personally lifted Kurt Cobain in the mosh pit.

Truly cool people are rare, but we know it when we see one.