“Well-Known Local Orchestra Available for New Year’s Eve due to cancellation.
Dial 5-1595 or 3-4454”
– Reading Eagle, Dec 6, 1952
I wouldn’t say there was panic in the air, but the guys were a little agitated. And understandably so. We had been looking forward to the New Year’s Eve gig for weeks and we had added two new songs onto our set list so that we could play for over an hour.
Today was the day. The D day. Da D Day. The day my plan finally came into fruition. Which one of them, you ask? The one in which I stand in the middle of the street in downtown Stockholm, and stop all traffic.
There once was a man who couldn’t make decisions. He’d get up in the morning and then dive straight back under the covers.
“It was nice to get up, but it’s even nicer here,” he said to himself. “On the other hand, I can’t stay here all day … or can I?”
Ten minutes later, he got up and stumbled downstairs to kitchen. The rest of his family was already sitting at the table.
“Good morning, everybody,” said the man who couldn’t make decisions. “Oh, that looks good,” he said, pointing to his son’s bowl of cereal.
“And that!” he shouted, and pointed at his wife’s bowl of fruit. “And that!” he said, now looking at his daughter’s toast.
The man who couldn’t make decisions had a bowl of fruit, a bowl of cereal, and a sandwich for breakfast. He pulled up the newspaper his wife had left for him on the table and started to read about a football game two teams had played the day before.
The other day, I sort of decided to write a blog entry every day for the entire … well, for a while, and I just realized it’s time for me to go to bed, and the page is still blank.
I’m not much of an inventor, but I’ve always admired inventors, ever since my first glue experiments as a five-year-old. The purpose of the experiment was to see which one of three glues dried up the fastest, and I remember how carefully I held the piece of paper with the samples on my lap on the back seat of our car, on our way to my grandparents’ place, and the playhouse that was my laboratory.
I took the glue samples in, and then promptly forgot about them when I got excited about other things. Such as a football.
A few years later, I carried with me a red hardcover Gyro Gearloose’s Guidebook everywhere, whenever I wasn’t sitting on our balcony with Mom’s old typewriter, copying passages of the guidebook into a book of my own. Turns out I didn’t get any inventions into my brain that way, but it may have put me in a writer’s frame of mind. Also, it was nice out there on the balcony.
Fact: I can’t build anything, and I can’t fix anything. I don’t understand how an engine works, and I don’t know how you can build a bridge across deep waters (although that’s never stopped me from writing about those things) but the desire to invent something is still inside me.
A couple of weeks ago, I had an epiphany. I was in the kitchen making a cappuccino when a theory started to form in my brain. A Theory of Cool, to be exact. The part of the theory that was most unclear was its name, because while it is a theory, it might be best formulated as a law instead. The Law of Cool.
But in short, this is my epiphany:
“The things you think are cool by the time you turn 17 will always be cool to you.”
It doesn’t mean that you want to wear the same clothes and listen to the same music or try to walk just like your favorite Phys Ed teacher – who does that? – your entire life, it just means that deep down, your definition of cool doesn’t change that much after you turn 18.
On one recent April morning, Risto Pakarinen took a quick glance at a black plastic bowl. Then he grabbed a potato chip out of it, and put it in his mouth.
“I love chips,” he said to no-one in particular.
He was wearing blue jeans and a blue T-shirt that had an image of the DeLorean from the 1980s hit movie Back to the Future, an orange Fitbit bracelet around his right wrist, and a Mickey Mouse watch on his left wrist. No socks.
“My favorite color’s blue. What’s yours?” he said with a chuckle.
We all know the basic rules of dividing up shame in a relationship. Your mother must have taught them to you, or maybe your brother, or father did. (Or maybe you learned them from George W. Bush). But to refresh you memory, here it is:
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Simple, and therefore very easy to remember. It also makes sense intuitively. But it’s also so very inadequate, albeit understandably so. Not many of us have ever needed to know the rules beyond those two.
However, these days we get fooled almost daily, thanks to the Internet, and especially the social media. The current archaic set of rules is not enough anymore.