Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Your Uncoolness is the Coolest

When I was in fourth grade, my vision had deteriorated to the point that I could not adequately function in the classroom. I suppose it was inevitable, since heredity had given me a disadvantage in the vision department. But when I was 10 years old, having to wear glasses was terrible. They weren't anything close to the stylish frames I own today. They were thick, dark, plastic frames that looked terrible by today's standards. Or did they...

Now that we've delved into the pain of my childhood, let's talk about my oldest daughter. At 14, she still had perfect vision but chose to start wearing fake glasses just for the look. And by look, of course I mean style. I wear glasses for the look too, but in my case that means so that I can actually look at things (I can't wear contacts or have eye surgery, but that's a story for another day). Back to my daughter...the glasses she wants to wear are the dark plastic type frames that I once despised. What happened?

I won't embarrass her by posting her picture here, but she actually looks really good in the glasses. She even had her school picture taken wearing them last year. When I was her age, all I dreamed about was being able to get my picture taken without my glasses.

Here's my theory on what has happened. Somehow, over time, kids bought the notion that being yourself and being different were good things. It's cool to be different. So now, everyone wants to be different. And they become more different by assuming the qualities that have historically caused other children to be labeled as different. It's some kind of coolness paradox. If you do the things that make you uncool you achieve coolness.

Personally, I think they're missing the point. You should be the best you that you can be. If you wear glasses, great. Pick some that work with your face and be confident and happy. If you love to write software and be alone in your room, great. Write some really fun apps for phones. If you love to play soccer, great. Go run and kick things and whatnot. Maybe you don't know what makes you different and special yet. That's fine too, just try different activities and you'll discover something. Don't rule anything out, unless of course it's illegal and/or dangerous. I found that same year I got my glasses that I loved programming. I did it every day from then on and didn't really care if I was cool or not.

Remember, you are different enough just by the fact that you are yourself. Unless, of course, you are an identical twin.

Amphibian.com comic for August 6, 2014