How to not be cool and alienate yourself

Killian Woods revels in being cool… for about ten secondsPersonally, the start of a New Year has always been about hitting new lows. Usually when I was younger that meant the inevitable countdown until the day I broke my latest New Year’s resolution aimed at improving myself as a human being.This year, my main resolution is to be more attentive. A big ask, admittedly, but something that I should try to aspire to. I’ve been reminded on countless occasions that I’m a terrible listener and will admit I’m quite selective with information I retain in general. That goes for everything, even simple stuff like words.The other day when I was attempting to finish reading The Hobbit for the 22nd time, I had to have Google fired up and ready to look up the meanings of basic words that I should know like, lament. On three separate occasions I forgot what the word lament meant. That’s exactly three times too many.It’s a paradox because my memory is good enough to remember that I looked up the definition of, for example, narcissistic about three minutes ago, but not remember its meaning. Or is it even a paradox? I couldn’t explain to you what a paradox is, but it sounds right so I’m going to go with it. My memory knows to enter a different gear around study weeks though. During those intense periods I’m all about learning the intricacies of EHV-4 (Equine Herpes Viris-4) and the structural composition of a horse’s stay apparatus.Although I’m a poor listener, I think I would be excellent at having a conversation with myself because I know the key words and sentences that spike my interest in a conversation, like “Star Wars”, “Glee” and “Did you hear there’s a new Call of Duty coming out?” This means the best way to assure that I take in an important piece of information is to litter it with these words. An example being, “Hey Killian, did you hear there’s a new Call of Duty game coming out on the same day that it’s MY BIRTHDAY?” or “Star Wars, you promised that you’d wash the DISHES before you watched this week’s episode of Glee”.Nowadays, in my mid-early twenties, I find that I have much less time to be dedicating to New Year’s resolutions. That’s mostly because counting up a few months’ worth of Dublin Bus receipts to buy a week’s supply of frozen pizzas from Tesco and washing off the colonies of bacteria that have festered on my bedroom wall takes paramount importance.Remarkably, these are two grim realities that I’m glad were forced upon me on the first week back living in Dublin after the open-buffet lifestyle I enjoyed while I was at home for the Christmas holidays. Not only did I need something demoralising to kick myself back into my Love/Hate-esque lifestyle, I was in dire need of what the youths would call an “anti-banter explosion” after enjoying my time off a little bit too much.It started off with me being called “cool” at a New Year’s Eve celebration. This was a mighty shock to my system because it caught me well and truly off guard. Normally I like to think that I see these drastic life-changing events coming from way off in the distance, but there are two reasons that make up for me being caught off guard.First of all, it was a girl who called me cool, and at that, a girl I had only just been introduced to. Let me be clear, this doesn’t often happen. In fact, the definition of often would imply that sometimes it does often happen; more often than rare, and definitely more regular than never. However, on that spectrum of often to never, the amount of times I’ve been called cool, by a girl in particular, is firmly and unequivocally planted in Room 101 of the never ever zone.That’s due to a multitude of reasons that all conspire to affirm my permanent state of being uncool. Reasons like Star Wars, Glee and wondering when the next Call of Duty game will be released. However, the second, and main, reason I was caught off guard for being called cool was that she thought writing for the college newspaper was cool.Inherently I tried to protect any fragments of cool I had by adamantly protesting that she was wrong and that there was no way in hell that I’m cool. The worst possible thing you can do after being called cool is buy into it. Never buy into it. That is a one-way ticket back to being uncool.Eventually though, I bought into it and went back to being inattentive to anything and everything she was talking about while reflecting on how I was now cool.All in all, I’d say I was cool for about ten seconds. It was after those ten seconds, I started questioning the fact that I was questioning whether I was actually cool and began buying into the fallacy that I was cool. Actually, there’s another case in point to prove I’m not cool. A cool person would just say “stupid idea” instead of fallacy and not search the word “misconception” on to the point, a cool person wouldn’t write a column about being called cool in a passing remark by a stranger at a party. A cool columnist would regal about their latest soirée in Café en Seine with a group of friends after an art exhibition dedicated to a pastiche of whatever that painting in the image below is meant to be.And now I’ve forgotten what cool means. Thanks memory.