Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Teenage Cool

In the 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes, there is a surly character named Limbo. He is an ape that is sort of a slave trader dealing in humans. While trying to make a sale of a human child he issues one of the most memorable lines from the film…

“The young ones make great pets. Just make sure you kill them before they mature. Believe me, the last thing you want is a human teenager running around your house.”

I was in Spaghetti Warehouse when I saw it. It was a large wooden Indian standing on a pedestal. The Indian has its hand raised as if saying “How!” The hand is about 8-9 feel in the air. I was sitting at the table and I saw this lanky teenage boy walking along. Totally unselfconscious, he jumped in the air and gave the wooden Indian a big “high five” and then kept right on walking. He was not aware that anyone was watching him. That is teenage cool.

What kind of teenager do you suppose Jesus was? On one hand, I would think he was one of the cool kids. Very popular and well liked. On the other hand, I think it’s more likely that he was a bit of a loner; too serious, too religious, too grown up. I know he was smart and wise. But cool, I’m not too sure about that. I mean, I don’t know if his peers would consider him cool. But this one thing I know; cool is not in trying.

Being real is of greater value than having a reputation of being cool. Peter said of Jesus, “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth” (I Peter 2:22). Jesus was real. Being “uncool” is real. As Lester Bangs said in Almost Famous, "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." If you know a teenager the most you can offer them is to be honest and accepting. They can spot fake a mile away. You don’t have to be cool if you love them. And if you love them, you’ll be the coolest. It’ll be neat… Dawg!


Anonymous said...

Michael, You never cease to amaze me!! Keep on Brother. I look so forward to reading your posts!! You Rock, DAWG!!!!
Robin Stanley

gibor_el said...

I couldn't agree with you more. We all, teens especially, have a surplus of people in our lives who are cool. Or at least striving to be. People who are are real, not so much.

I think Jesus had a crew he rolled with but they had their own table at the Tastee Freeze. And it was probably in the corner.

I have a hard time seeing him as the quarteback for the Jerusalem High Bearcats and going on to throw the winning touchdown at the Shalom Bowl. Not just because of the fact that Jesus was a Baseball guy not a Football guy either.

That's just not his M.O. ya know?