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UncoolnessNCHS Superintendent’s Notes

By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99

I learned a secret many years ago. I wish I had stumbled upon this realization sooner. Here you go…..being uncool is liberating! Think about it. I can dress as I want, look as I want, eat what I want, go where I want, hang out with who I want, watch what I want, say what I want, and pretty well do as I want because I don’t have to worry about meeting someone else’s standard of coolness. I readily admit that, as a parent, I’m not a cool parent. When my kids threw up to me something that one of their friends “got to do” but I did not allow, their accusations of me not being cool bounced off of me like bullets off of Superman’s chest. That is another benefit of embracing uncoolness. It doesn’t bother me when people don’t think I’m cool even if they tell me I’m not cool. They stammer when my response to their dagger of “you’re not cool” is “thank you” or “I know”.

I wish that I would have found this “uncool is liberating” secret while I was in high school. No, I wasn’t cool then either but I wanted to be. I look back and think how silly it was for me to waste time trying to be something that I wasn’t. I wanted to dress cool, act cool, talk cool all in hopes of being admitted into the world of coolness. I admire our students who are strong enough to stand on their own and not care about being cool. They could care less about being with the “in” crowd. The “in” crowd is often a fickle bunch. To do or say something that doesn’t meet their shallow standard can often result in the “offender” being shunned and excluded from this snobby group. The students who could care less about being cool never have to worry about such nonsense. They are immune to snobbery. That is power!

I’ve attended two high school class reunions over the past several years. Part of the reason for me attending to begin with was to see just how the high school snobs have made it over the past 20-25 years. I have to admit, I got a certain amount of satisfaction in seeing many of those folks as not quite being at the top of the ladder like they had been in the 1970’s. On top of that, many of the “cool guys” were either bald or covered the evidence of their balding with a hat. Meanwhile, here I am uncool as always, still using hair gel and a blow dryer. Come to think of it, being uncool is more than liberating. It is pretty cool!