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“Cool” has been with us for some time now.  It's one of the survivors in the world of slang.  I guess that makes “cool” cool.

“Cool” started life as a Dutch or German word “col” and came into the English language where it was spelled various ways: coul, coole, and koole.  Of course its original standard meaning was related to temperature.   Somewhere in the 40's it took on the current slang meaning: awesome, swell, very good, excellent, interesting, fun.  These synonyms are not a definition.  The definition is illusive.  In the world in which I grew up, it was a new slang word when I was a teenager.


It's much easier to give examples of “cool” than to define it.  For example, anything Apple produces today would probably be called “cool” by most folks familiar with them.  Many cars are considered cool from the Model A to a Ferrari, any Ferrari.  Even foods have their cool elements: soul food, Texas barbecues, and Cajun food most folks would consider cool.

On the other hand, there are not many cool people.  I was never cool, but I've known folks who were cool; but their coolness never seemed to rub off on me.  My friend Jim Smith (see “My Friend Jim”) was definitely cool.

What or who one thinks of as being cool is pretty personal.  I gave it some thought and came up with a list of folks I think of as cool.

Bob Dylan has always been a favorite of mine.  He was cool when he was young and he's even cooler now.

“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.”

Bob Dylan

Willie Nelson went from a hanger-on in Nashville to a top notch performer in Austin.  That's cool.

“I believe that all roads lead to the same place---and that is wherever all roads lead to.”

Willie Nelson

James Dean didn't outlive his cool.  He died young and left a cool memory.

“Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.”

James Dean

Cary Grant is probably the most handsome man who ever lived.

“Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.”

Cary Grant

Jack Nicholson.  Need I say more?

“With my sunglasses on, I'm Jack Nicholson. Without them, I'm fat and 60.”

Jack Nicholson

Bo Jackson, football and baseball player, and he was an all-star in both.

“I hate to blow my own horn, but I gave a lot of people fits.”

Bob Jackson

The good news is that “Tex” Cobb was a heavyweight who fought the best.  The bad news is that “Tex” Cobb was a heavyweight who fought the best.

“If you screw things up in tennis, it's 15-love. If you screw up in boxing, it's your ass.”

Randall “Tex” Cobb

George Foreman in his first career as a heavyweight was definitely not cool: he was nothing but cool in his second effort.

“I've seen George Foreman shadow boxing and the shadow won.”         George Foreman

Although being cool is not high on my list of qualifications for a President, Ronald Reagan was cool.

When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat.

Ronald Reagan

Of the philosophers, Plato was probably the coolest.

“He was a wise man who invented beer.”


Huddy “Leadbelly” Ledbetter was probably the all time coolest cat from the world of blues.

“I always sings too long and too loud.”

Huddy Ledbetter

I suppose I could make my list longer, but…that wouldn't be cool.