The End of Cool: Buying a Minivan
Succumbing to final throes of suburban fatherhood, one resident speaks of that which few men wish to speak.
I’m no longer cool.
I’m sure this revelation will come as a shock to every single person on Earth, especially the ladies, but the immense, profound aura of hip I’ve consistently maintained for so long is now officially dead. Its death comes not by accident, or as the result of long illness, but rather by murder. I took it out back and executed it – ran it over so to speak – when I decided to purchase a minivan.
Not that my hand wasn’t forced. My wife and I are expecting our third child next month and, as a result, sacrifices must be made. The late night parties: gone. The loud music: gone. The Italian sports car I always dreamed of owning but never bought: gone. Well, the dream is gone, anyway – I couldn’t actually afford it.
Being a suburban man, though, consists of a series of such moments, in which the things that were once relevant suddenly aren’t. It’s the reflection of advancing age – the need for a safer, quieter place to spend time with the family becomes a somewhat more one-dimensional world of picket fences and houses that look almost exactly alike. In practical terms, the quieter life without alarms or surprises allows you to raise kids in an environment that’s somewhat predictable, which diminishes parental anxiety – sort of.
Nuts that we are, though, we can never just leave it be. Reduced anxiety over runaway urban crime or rural mountain lion attacks give way to paranoia over money, education, radon gas or the registered sex offender down the street, creating a culture of over-worked, over-anxious people all devoted to one thing: living the quiet life, just as soon as soccer practice ends.
And cool, while discarded, never ceases to maintain its hold on our minds. My kids don’t care which bands I liked or who I hung out with, except as the occasional passing (and gratifying) curiosity. They don’t care what I did or with whom I did it, except insofar as it justifies their own actions. I’m cool because I spend time with them – the other stuff only matters to me.
So I am buying a minivan. And that’s like so whatever.