Humor by Michael Showalter

There are certain things you can't look cool doing, so don't even try.

For instance: You can't look cool while pretending to be a cat. Let me explain: I took an acting class in middle school. The teacher had us all walking around in a circle, and she had a tambourine and she'd bang the tambourine against her hip and intermittently call out a type of animal and then, on cue, we would have to behave like that animal. "Be a cow!" And we'd all moo. "Be a duck." And we'd all quack. You get the idea.

Of course one of the things she called out was, "Be a cat!" All of the other kids in the class really got into it. They licked their paws, arched their backs and meowed -- just like a cat! But not me. Nope.

See, I was afraid that if I started acting like a cat, I wouldn't look cool. Which is, of course, true: I wouldn't. And that's because you can't look cool when you're pretending to be a cat. But here's the rub: You're not supposed to look cool when you're pretending to be a cat. That was the point of the exercise: to get out of yourself, to live in someone else's -- or in this case, something else's -- skin. But I tried. I tried to look cool.

Big mistake. Because by having the audacity to try to look cool while pretending to be a cat -- let me repeat, while TRYING TO LOOK COOL WHILE PRETENDING TO BE A CAT, which is, as I stated earlier, something that is impossible to look cool doing, and moreover INAPPROPRIATE, dare I say insulting, to cats -- I actually looked really uncool.

As it turns out, the only cool kids in the room were the ones licking their paws because they were just BEING cats. Which, as I've now said several times, IS uncool. BUT sometimes being uncool is SO uncool that it's REALLY cool. It's a paradox.

I wish I knew then what I know now. And what I know now is that I can't control what others think of me. I'm not a psychic! I don't have ESP! And yet, in vain, I try. I try so hard to control what other people think of me. What a monumental waste of energy.

And I know I'm not the only one.

For instance, I was in the drugstore the other day and the hip-looking gal in front of me in the line walks up to the cashier and says, "Do you have any Pepto-Bismo?"

Pepto-Bismo. That's what she said.

You see, I think that she didn't want to admit that she knew what it was called, so she kind of acted like she wasn't sure, as if somehow, only sort of knowing what it was called would compensate for what it really was that she wanted: medicine for her tummy. As it turns out, there's nothing very cool about having an upset tummy.

And I just wanted to say to her: Are you really so afraid of what people will think of you that you'd purposely mispronounce the name of the medicine that you need for your upset tummy just for appearances!? Has it come to that? As if knowing the name of the brand of the medicine that treats your . . . I have to say it . . . diarrhea . . . there, I said it! As if knowing the name somehow implies that you aren't cool? As if cool people don't get upset tummies?

I mean, are you actually worried that anyone is paying attention to you?

I mean, are you actually worried someone behind you in line is paying close attention to your every word and is going to somehow broadcast his findings to the world?

How presumptuous of you to think that!

Humor & Satire

Humor & Funny Stories - Sometimes, You Just Can't Be Cool

Article: Copyright © Tribune Media Services