How to Be Cool
Let’s be honest: jazz musicians are cool. Statistically speaking, cooler than you. Case in point: jazz musicians are far too cool to actually read this article, and the fact that you’re three sentences into it proves you’re not as cool as we are (a musician would have gotten as far as “Let’s be honest…” then stopped to smoke an e-cigarette).
Don’t take it personally. It’s taken us years to develop our cool. It’s what we do.
You know what we were doing while you were taking Math class? We were busy being cool. English class? You guessed it, cool. (Which is why our grammar ain’t so goodness, and we cant work out where our apostrophe’s go.)
I know what you’re thinking: “Professor, if you’re so cool, how come you’re writing this article?”
Well, in a ‘coolness legal loophole,’ I’m dictating this to an assistant whilst on a surfboard skydiving onto a wave at the Rockaways. Whilst playing the sax. Case closed. I might be offended that you’d even question my validity, but to be honest I’m too cool to actually care.
But as cool as I am; I am, in equal measure, a nice guy. And it would be remiss of me to have this regular column and not at least try and help you increase your coolness factor. It’s never too late to start being cool.
So here are some of the Professor’s coolness tips to get you on the right track.
Firstly, before you start attempting coolness, make sure you stretch. This might sound trivial, but I knew a guy who put his back out while trying to be cool, and I don’t want you people coming after me with lawsuits.
Okay, now that you’re limber, follow these simple steps:
1. Don’t care about anything. Apathy is the name of the game. Music? Take it or leave it. Overdue bills? Who cares. Rent due? Forget about it. What if you get evicted? So what. Nobody said coolness came easy.
2. Fashion. It’s important to look cool, but not look like you’re actually trying. Looking like you’ve just rolled out of bed is cool. Looking like you’ve just rolled out of someone else’s bed is cooler. Sunglasses are very important. Except don’t call them sunglasses. Call them shades. Wear leather? Yes. Jackets are pretty cool, but it’s the leather you DON’T see that gets you some next level coolness.
3. Walk like you’re listening to cool music. I like to hear Miles Davis in my head. Some guys like Stan Getz. DO NOT pretend to listen to the cast album of Anchors Away. Prancing down the street like someone auditioning for a Broadway musical is not cool. (The gangs in the opening scene of West Side Story get away with it, but mostly because it’s Bernstein.)
If, at this point, you’re thinking “this article is lame, I couldn’t be bothered reading any more,” then congratulations! You’re well on your way to being cool. And if you’re finding this whole process a little overwhelming, then chill out bro—I’ve compiled a shortlist to help you kickstart your cool factor.
Here’s a list of some cool things:
Listening to jazz
Drinking a martini
Wearing sunglasses indoors
Watching Adrian Cunningham on YouTube
Not crying when you cut up an onion
Wrestling a bear
Here are some things that aren’t cool:
Crocheting a throw pillow
Shopping at KMart
Doing the Macarena
Hats with flaps
Setting up your 401K
Meg Ryan movie marathons
You’ve got a long road ahead of you, but I hope this helps get you on the right track. Best of luck for finding your coolness!! Or not. I don’t care. I mean…whatever, dude.
Reedman extraordinaire Adrian Cunningham is the leader of Professor Cunningham and his Old School Jazz Band, based in New York City. His most recent CD is Ain’t That Right! The Music of Neal Hefti issued on the Arbors Jazz label. Visit his both his sites on the world wide web: www.adriancunningham.com and professorcunninghamjazz.com.
The Professor is delighted to field your questions regarding jazz and a variety of other germane topics. Write him at oldschool email@example.com.