If you think you are cool…

…you most assuredly are not.

I was standing in line at the grocery store last night. The young male clerk was chatting up (unsuccessfully) the slightly older young woman ahead of me. And that is when he said it. 

“I think I am cool.”

Throughout the rest of my wait and my transaction, I debated telling him the truth. One is either cool or not. Just saying you think you are cool is evidence to the contrary. It is something that is self-evident to others.

This applies to qualities of personality and existence beyond coolness. Spirituality. Bravery. Wisdom.

I left without saying anything about it. In part, it is not my place to disabuse him of his notion. Sooner or later he will more than likely learn the hard way. Also, having spent chunks of my life in Oklahoma, Missouri, Virginia, Oregon, and Alaska, I’ve learned not to argue with the weather. Or fence posts, crazy people, animals, and inanimate objects of all shapes and sizes. 

Arguing with any of the above is pointless and makes you look foolish. Certainly one of the problems I have had in life is recognizing when someone is actually a fence post.

`You got everything?’ said the chauffeur. `You don’t want to pick up your bag or anything?’

`If there’s one thing that life’s taught me,’ said Tricia, `it’s never go back for your bag.’

Just a little over an hour later, Tricia sat on one of the pair of beds in her hotel room. For a few minutes she didn’t move. She just stared at her bag, which was sitting innocently on top of the other bed.

In her hand was a note from Gail Andrews, saying, `Don’t be too disappointed. Do ring if you want to talk about it. If I were you I’d stay in at home tomorrow night. Get some rest. But don’t mind me, and don’t worry. It’s only astrology. It’s not the end of the world. Gail.’

The chauffeur had been dead right. In fact the chauffeur seemed to know more about what was going on inside NBS than any other single person she had encountered in the organisation. Martin had been keen, Zwingler had not. She had had her one shot at proving Martin right and she had blown it.

Oh well. Oh well, oh well, oh well.

Time to go home. Time to phone the airline and see if she could still get the red-eye back to Heathrow. tonight. She reached for the big phone directory.

Oh. First things first.

She put down the directory again, picked up her handbag, and took it through to the bathroom. She put it down and took out the small plastic case which held her contact lenses, without which she had been unable properly to read either the script or the autocue.

As she dabbed each tiny plastic cup into her eyes she reflected that if there was one thing life had taught her it was that there are times when you do not go back for your bag and other times when you do. It had yet to teach her to distinguish between the two types of occasion.

Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

Learning to distinguish between a real person and a person that is really a fence post (if only on some issues) is the real trick.

Be nice. It won't hurt either of us.

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