Commentary: The "Cool Kids"

"I wish that I could be like the cool kids,
'Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in.
I wish that I could be like the cool kids, like the cool kids."

These lyrics certainly struck a chord.

The song is the first single for a new band – a quartet of siblings from the San Fernando Valley. The intensity of these lyrics spell irony, if you see that this band of siblings are aged 15 through 21. They look like "cool kids" with good upbringing. That is, if you only look at appearances.

The Sierota siblings that make up the band Echosmith might remind us of Hanson, another family act that made it as teenagers some two decades ago. However, the edgier Echosmith brought out something that may require deep thought on the subject on hand.

Who are these "cool kids?"

If we take these lyrics on face value, they point to the eternal struggle of socialization in secondary education. The apex of human development where the child becomes an adult through extracurricular means – though some of it is played out inside the classroom, as well as out.

Yet, this construct does not end in high school. "Cool kids" are found in almost every level of life. They are in college, at work, at a place of worship, your adult social circles, professional organizations, cultural communities and so forth.

They are also found in car communities.

You know who the "cool kids" are by the cars they drive, where they have been, who services their rides, who they know in the car world and the experiences they had with them all. They are the ones who are well connected, have a cadre of friends with equal enthusiasm and set themselves apart from the crowd.

Some may argue that finding "cool kids" in the car community would not require random selection. They are there – in plain sight. Look at them and their rides. Listen to their conversations. Are they on your level? Maybe…maybe not.

"He sees them talking with a big smile, but they haven't got a clue.
Yeah, they're living the good life, can't see what he is going through.
They're driving fast cars, but they don't know where they're going.
In the fast lane, living life without knowing."

"Cool kids" are found in many parts of the car community. They are not just at a given meet, track day or car club. They could be found at the break room at any given business within the auto industry. They would also be found at a press event among the media corps. There is no age limit or level of maturity that defines the "cool kids."

It seems unfair, doesn't it? Should a car community be an equal playing field? Perhaps within a club or group of enthusiasts, but there will always be a distortion in parity. The ones who strut their feathers doing a superiority dance because of some leverage in class, wealth, education, social access, overall health and well being…the list continues.

What if you are on the "other side?" What if you did not have what "they" have? How do you compensate? The standard answer is to make do with what you got and accentuate the positive. You do not have to compete with them…unless you are in a competition. Show everyone what you bring to the table. Show them that you can stay in your lane – and own it.

It would be great if we were all on the same page, the same wavelength and the same level of enthusiasm. That is, of course, exists in a perfect world. We obviously do not live a perfect world.

However, we are also charged to "pass it down" to the next generation – that includes the "cool kids." We offer so much to the newbie in terms of education, experience and camaraderie. It takes breaking down some barriers while breaking down the knowledge. It does not take a "cool kid" to bring the newbie into the fold. It takes an entire car community.

Instead of being jealous at the "cool kids," why not become one – in your own way. To be distinctive, apart from the crowd and forging your own road – that is the essence of being a car community. You will meet the twain and ride with the pack as you shine.

Besides, isn't life all about being you?

Lyrics for "Cool Kids" – Copyright: Jeffery David Songs, Echosmith Songs, Reach Music Publishing O.B.O. Jeffery David Songs, WB Music Corp.

Photo by Randy Stern

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