“I’m cool because mommy said so”

What is cool and how do you know you have arrived? Are you considered one of the cool kids? The Oxford English Dictionary defines cool as fashionably attractive or impressive” (OED).


Fonzie from Happy Days was the epitome of cool. He had the slick hair and easy demeanor. Everyone wanted to be with him. Although he maintained a men’s room for a personal office, his social status was never questioned.

Jump the Shark

What I believe made the Fonz hip was unwavering eye contact. He did not seek approval from anyone.

Fonzie remained cool until the infamous shark jumping episode. For those who are yet unfamiliar with the term, here is a definition provided by the Urban Dictionary:

a term to describe a moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity.

Origin of this phrase comes from a Happy Days episode where the Fonz jumped a shark on water skis. Thus was labeled the lowest point of the show.

Cousin Oliver on Brady Bunch, Scrappy Doo.
The moment Fonzie questioned his coolness and sought out the approval of others, he ceased being cool. Cool is a decision, not bestowed upon you but taken by you.

Now to the personal stuff…

Am I cool?

What on earth does my son have to do with Fonzie? My son Sam is a 14 year old sweet, good-hearted, yet awkward teenager. He is not considered cool by his peers, or himself. Smart, funny, and shy are three of Sam’s chief characteristics.

Sam enjoys asking questions, especially when he knows the answers to them prior to asking. I am not sure what that is about, but by now let’s just say I am used to it. Most of the time I tend to tune out Sam’s rambling interrogations. One day, he totally caught me off guard.

“Am I cool?”

Instead of his usual interrogation tactics, Sam looked at me thoughtfully and asked me, “Am I cool?” To which I smiled and answered him with another question, “What do you think?” Perhaps I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he is not cool. Regardless, it was not up to me to decide.

So, in true Sam form, he asked me again (figuring I probably wasn’t listening). This time, I answered him truthfully. “Sam, I think you are a cool kid, but it is really up to you to decide how cool you really are.”

I don’t think Sam listened to my entire response because he jumped up and sang, “Yay! I am cool because my mommy said so.” Other than the fact that my son puts so much emphasis on what I think of him, I had to laugh.

Did he have any idea what it sounded like? How can anyone be cool if you lack self-confidence and look to others (especially mommy) for reassurance? To this day, I am not completely sure he understands the difference between an internal locus of control (IE. self-confidence) and a totally external locus of control.

I still don’t think Sam is much like Fonzie

Sam probably will not need to jump over a shark while water skiing to prove his coolness (or lack of) to the world. His shark jumping moment will be reserved for something else altogether.

Are you a Fonzie, a Sam, or something in-between? Do you know this about yourself because others have told you, or does your coolness come from within? Whatever or whoever you are, embrace it and try to avoid jumping sharks.

3 thoughts on ““I’m cool because mommy said so”

  1. Pamela Morse says:

    Sam has no common ground with the Fonz, which is partly very positive. He strikes me as extremely literal, always expressing, word for word, what his parents say is true. Cool is usually conferred from without, I think, since it is related to fads and gimmicks. If you are cool you know. You also know it is like riding a wave. It will peak. I don’t think Sam has done any surfing into “public opinion”, but his question is a natural one with high school in a couple of months.


  2. eof737 says:

    I see the family resemblance there… Sam’s attachment to the word s typical of his peer group. Your reply was wise. ღ˚ •。* ♥ ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛★* 。 ღ˛° 。* °♥ ˚ • ★ *˚ .ღ 。*˛˚ღ •˚ ˚ Happy Independence Day Greetings! ˚ ✰* ★˚. ★ *˛ ˚♥* ✰。˚ ˚ღ。* ˛˚ ♥ 。✰˚* ˚ ★ღ ˚ 。✰ •* ˚ ♥


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