I used to be cool

Gray Hughes

Believe it or not, I used to be cool.


That was a long time ago, though. I used to know all the latest bands, the slang and everything associated with being a high school and college kid.


I drove a cool car. It had after-market rims on it, and, boy, that baby could fly (sorry, mom). It had a really good sound system. That car got me through high school and three years of college.


I have a lot of good memories of that car. But, sadly, the car got old and leaked about a pint of oil every time I took the 90-minute trek from my alma mater to my house.


Now, though? Now I drive a certified pre-owned 2013 Honda Civic. My sister — who drives a lifted Toyota Land Cruiser that gets about 0.00001 miles per gallon — jokes around and calls it the “Grandma Car.” I’m sorry, but when did driving a sensible car that gets good gas mileage (35.7 miles per gallon last time I checked) that gets me from point A to point B with no problems become not cool?


I used to be in on all the latest acts. My iPod (yes, iPod) was filled with rappers that were still underground. Way before they became popular, I used to blare artists like Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino and Kid Cudi and would look down on those who questioned who they were.


But it wasn’t just the rap game that I was knowledgeable about. I would also play to no end songs from bands such as MGMT, Passion Pit and other “out there” indie rock bands.


Now, though? Well, let’s just say on a recent drive home (I always listen to music or a podcast on my way home) I put on a rap playlist off of Spotify, and I had no clue who the vast, vast majority of the artists were. Yes, I’ve heard of rappers such as Drake and Future, but I had no clue who pretty much anyone else was. And does every rapper have “Lil” or “Baby” in their name now? When I was young, the only legitimate rapper who had “Lil” in his name was Lil Wayne and “Baby” was a terrible song by Justin Bieber.


And it sounded terrible. Like, so bad. I had to pull my 2013 Honda Civic over at the visitor information center and change the playlist.


And it’s not just rap that sounds terrible to me any more. I tried listening to a new album by MGMT the other day, and they sounded so, so bad. I don’t know why on God’s green earth I thought they were good when I was 16.


I used to know all of the latest slang terms, too. I remember having conversations with my parents and they had no clue what I was saying sometimes. Now, though? Now I have no clue what the kids these days are saying. Terms like “no cap” and “Tik Tok” are foreign terms to me.


And why do kids these days like Tik Tok? It’s just videos of people doing ridiculous dances to songs that sound like what happens when I get a fork stuck in my garbage disposal and I turn it on without knowing the fork is down there.


Back in my day, when I was cool, the only social media platform that was widely used was Facebook. Back before our parents and grandparents got on there, Facebook was where all the millennials spent our time (now, though, I detest Facebook).


But most of all, I was able to stay up late and eat whatever I wanted. Back then, I spent most of my weekends out with friends doing typical high school and college stuff. There’s still a sign at the local McDonalds that limits time spent in there to 30 minutes because my friends and I would spend hours in there just talking.


I used to be able to stay up late, go out to a fast food restaurant, go out with my friends and do it all again the next day.


Now, though? I’ve had fast food once (other than Chick-fil-A or Chipotle whenever there’s one around) since I moved to South Dakota in August of 2018. And that gave me heartburn (I wrote a whole column about it last year). I think if I had fast food now the results would be similar.


And let me tell you what: there’s no staying up late anymore. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t stay up late anymore. In fact, the last time I purposefully stayed up late was New Year’s Eve, and even then I went to bed as soon as the clock struck midnight.


Yes, I used to be cool. But now that I’m older and wiser, I look back on my past and think to myself: “Man. Life is better now.”


And that, my friends, is what I call growing up.

User login