The size of the world changed in high school, grew smaller, though a larger world might have been suggested by logic; if logic had influenced beach boys. All of my dreams condensed in the desire to be cool.
It would seem a small desire to fill. But the definition of cool is vague, except everybody knows it by their own idea of “cool.” The definition changes with the audience.
My own degree of cool, my image, in other people’s eyes, became the definition of me. Producing any image I decided on, given the moment and the audience, was the art of it.
I never tried to get away with anything for very long. The fever to be cool was a paradoxical condition. The heat froze me; a cold flame consumed my imagination. I focused all available light on the image of myself I wished to produce, whether I got away with it or not.
All I really had to do was convince myself.
Once I did that, everybody usually believed me, for as long as I remained doubtless, and doubted not. But if you can do that, a wise man promised, you can walk on water.
My gurus in high school were athletes. Imagine the world shrunk to the size of a football helmet. But they were cool. I only wanted to kill about four of them. They were the sons my father never had.