Some interesting (to me) tidbits about coolness:
1. I've recently become acquainted with a high school classmate (I don't say re-acquainted because I actually didn't really know him in high school)who lives nearby and we've become friends. A few weeks ago we had lunch, and it was interesting talking about high school because his concept of who was popular back then was completely different than mine. I tend to remember the cheerleaders and jocks and all those people, while he kept talking about his advanced-placement classmates, the people who ran student government and all that. It had never occurred to me that other people would have a completely different perspective on who all got all the attention back then. Incidentally, this guy who is my friend now was quite cool himself. He probably didn't think so, but I remember
2. A couple of months ago, a friend of mine told me her 15-year-old daughter had told her, "Tracie's so cool! I wish she was my mom!" Sad how happy that made me. The experience of it was tempered somewhat by the fact that my friend told me this right in front of her daughter, and her daughter and I avoided eye contact after that.
3. The rules of coolness have definitely changed since I was an adolescent.
A lot of people probably think the fact that I drive a minivan is uncool. I know driving one doesn't make me cool, but I think the fact that I fully acknowledge that minivans aren't cool and I still love driving mine makes me cool. I have my nose pierced because I think it's cool, not in hopes of having other people think I'm cool. And so on. Overall, at the ripe age of 34, I think I have achieved a level of detachment about these kinds of things that would have made me seem extremely cool at 16.
4. I enjoy my life a lot more now than I did when I used to worry about trying to be cool. I should probably not be devoting so much thought to coolness right now -- it's likely to harsh my mellow pretty soon.