I don’t mean to brag, but I used to be really cool. Like seriously, no joke. Other side of the pillow type stuff.
Sure, life was awkward for a dozen years or so, but by the time high school started winding down, I felt I had figured most of it out. My best friend Christowered over the rest of the school at over six foot six and we strolled around like we owned the place. Our attitudes seemed to come straight from a WWF wrestling pay per view and that was by design. People seemed to like it.
Frankly, everyone seemed to like it. Even teachers thought it funny. Well, most teachers thought it was funny. OK. A handful of teachers thought it was funny, but they were the ones who mattered anyway. Just to give you an example of how closely I considered myself to mirror Saved By The Bell‘s Zack Morris, after my high school graduation, I handed my principal, Mr. Smith, back the laminated hall pass I had stolen from the head of the science department earlier that year. He got a kick out of it.
Ha! And it’s Dr. Rosengarten’s!
Mr. Smith was cool as hell too.
As I got older, the confidence in myself didn’t grow as much as my confidence in being able to convince others how confident I was. In college, I started to gooff the reservation a bit. I was taking risks and hurting feelings but still, in my head, I was the coolest dude in the room wherever the room may be.
While my attitude mellowed a bit in the years that followed, I still considered myself fairly cool. In 2002, I began writing about professional wrestling and, four years later, my first bookwas published. To help promote “World Wrestling Insanity”, I started my own site where I interviewed hundreds of wrestlers from the past and present long before podcasting was a household thing. A lot of the people I ran into were impressed by what I did, even after I no longer was.
I played some clips for my daughter, Olivia, when she was young. For the most part, she absorbed them and didn’t show much reaction. The only questions she really had were why I used such a “radio voice” and why I began every audio with a booming, “What’s up guys?!” Overall, though, I knew she had to be impressed.
I mean, come on. I interviewed wrestlers. Little kids love wrestlers. Her dad had such a cool job. Ask anyone. People would tell me all the time how fantastic it was. Of course, other people always seemed more blown away by my rasslin’ life than I was. But she was other people. She must be so impressed too. Right?
Then came the day when she was about seven. We had friends over and, as the adults chatted around the dining room table, the kids were running amok. Olivia, an expert in being loud and silly for the sake of being loud and silly, began yelling gibberish and dancing wildly, as kids often do. Or at least as I hope they do. She did. Actually, she still does.
So I asked her to stop.
Hey, maybe you can, uh, stop doing being crazy.
Her reply took me by surprise. Keeping her silly voice, she agreed.
Oh…kay, Mister Daddy! Maybe I will do a my very own podcast…
Before I could even process what that meant, she began speaking in a voice that sounded exactly like a yokel version of Walt Disney’s Goofy and launched into, well, this…
Uh huh! Yuk Yuk! Whuuuut’s up, guys!? This is Jayyyyy-Geee Insanity. Welcome to mah biiiig pawdcast forrrrr World Wrestling Insanity…
The people at our table began to laugh. She saw that as ammunition and ramped it up. At this point, she’s dancing in circles.
Uh uh, yuk yuk. I’m joined here by mah special guest, Poopy! Oh, hai Poppy! Hai, JG Insanity!
The laughter had grown. Now she was doing two similar voices having a conversation. She continued my groundbreaking interview with Poopy.
Hey Poopy. Welcome to JG’s Insanity. Hooray forrrr yooooou, Poppy! You’ve just won $25,000 dollars, Poopy! Yay, Pooooopy!
I don’t know where that even came from as I never gave away any money for a contest. I think she had melded me together with various radio memories from her life.
Wow, JG! $25,000? Yes, Poopy! $25,000. It’s Woooooorrrrld Wresssssstlllling Insanity, Poopy! Hooray! Whuuut’s up, guys!? It’s me! JG Insanity!
At this point, the entire table is in hysterics as I sat in stunned silence, trying to conceal the confused laughter in my head.
That’s when my outlook about being really cool changed and it became something I talk about in the past tense.
You know what though? I’m actually OK with that. It’s only when I apply my old definition of “cool” that I realize I’ve blown past it. To the me of 1997, cool was about taking risks, offending people, and presenting an aura about myself that wasn’t entirely true.
That’s not me anymore. I have kids and those risk taking days are, for the most part, behind me. Sure, I don’t sit in my house under a security blanket all day, but I also don’t put my own life into my hands on a nightly basis anymore either.
My jokes aren’t as R Rated as they used to be and that can often earn me an eyeroll. Of course, I still am able to find edgy humor that’s still somewhat age appropriate. For example:
Why is Six afraid of Seven?
Because Seven whispered in Six’s ear, “I’m going to kill you in your sleep.”
Olivia loves that joke. It definitely bought me some cool points that day but it’s nowhere near the material I used to strut through my high school with. But that was a different time, a different place, and a different person. To be honest, I like the person who’s here today much more.
When it comes to presenting the aura of awesome to others, those days are over. In my younger years, I tried to convince everyone around me that I was a super cool guy. Truth be told, they were pretty easy to fool. Now, I just try to convince one person and she’s the toughest critic of them all.