Cool, defined.

I just read an interview with poet Nick Thran – whose work I’m looking forward to reading, not the least because he introduced me to this dead-on definition of ‘cool’. Here’s what Nick said:

“Every time the word cool pops up I think of this stanza from Berman’s ‘Self Portrait at 28’,

If you were cool in high school
you didn’t ask too many questions.
You could tell who’d been to last night’s
big metal concert by the new t-shirts in the hallways.
You didn’t have to ask
and that’s what cool was:
the ability to deduce,
to know without asking.
And the pressure to simulate coolness
means not asking when you don’t know,
which is why kids grow ever more stupid.”