The Epitome of Fictional Cool

 

People are constantly saying to me:

“Evan!  You are so freaking cool!  How do you have such style, such grace such flair?”

 

When people say that, I just smile graciously and give the same answer…

“I’m really quite something.”

And then to foster my reputation for mystery and timing, I walk away.

But today, (oh today!)  I’m going to give you a list which will help to explain my abundance of awesome.  A list which will give every man something to aspire towards, and every woman something of which to think fondly.

TOP FIVE MOST AWESOMELY STYLISH AND COOL FICTIONAL MALE CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME WHOSE BADASS-NESS WAS ENHANCED BY ONE OF THE ACTORS WHO  HAS PORTRAYED THEM

(Wow, when I started to type that I thought it was going to fit neatly on one line.  Then it just sort of snowballed as I kept thinking up qualifies for the list. Ah well.)

Here they are, in countdown form.

 

NUMBER 5

Thomas Crown

Rich, Devious, Cool

Thomas Crown as played by Steve McQueen

He only comes in fifth because he is the only character on this list that didn’t originate as a character from literature.  In terms of his pure, unadulterated coolness, this bank robbing, turtleneck sweater wearing, thrill seeking badass is tops.  He had money and a knack for spending it on things that only enhances his cool quotient.  Glider planes? Fancy bar in your office? Sweet Cars and financing bank heists?  All cool.

 

NUMBER 4

Sherlock Holmes

Smart, Obnoxious, Cool

Sherlock Holmes as played by Robert Downey, Jr.

Doyle’s classic case solving, hat wearing, pipe chewing hero was done well by Robert Downey, Jr.  He manages the age old trick of looking cool while clearly not giving a damn how he looks.  Solving the case and making other people look dumb is just a side bonus.

 

NUMBER 3

James Bond

British, Sexy, Cool

James Bond as played by Sean Connery

 

Now, I don’t want to get into a debate about which Bond is the best, because there IS no debate.  Sean Connery is James Bond.  Because Fleming’s character was noted for being BOTH tough and suave.  Moore was just suave (debatable even on that front), Brosnan was just suave, and now Craig is just tough (though he’s getting better).  But Connery’s Bond was believable in a fight and believable in a tuxedo.  AND believable FIGHTING IN A TUXEDO.  Too cool for words.  But, too cliche to crack the top 2 on my list.

 

NUMBER 2

Mr. Darcy

Proper, Wordsmith, Cool

Fitzwilliam Darcy as played by Colin Firth

 

Maybe this is my personal bias (and shouldn’t it be? It is MY blog after all) but I love Jane Austen.  And by the end of Pride and Prejudice I think she had made Mr. Darcy into what she considered the ideal man.  And I figure that as men we should learn from what women think is ideal.  Firth shows off how a man can be aloof and cool at the same time.  An important tool in any rogue’s belt.   Plus, he writes Lizzy such an awesome letter!  (topic for a future blog… How love letters should be re-inserted into modern life)  Plus, cool was different notion in way old England.  So he earns points for being cool in multiple centuries.

 

AND NUMBER 1

Atticus Finch

Honorable, Intense, Cool

Atticus Finch as played by Gregory Peck

Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic.  And Atticus Finch is an equally classic character.  He engenders so much integrity and believable love for his family and the town in which he lives that he had been beloved by generations of readers.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!  He also rocked a three piece suit.  His hair was immaculate.  And if you watch the movie closely, every female in the entire movie makes googly eyes at Gregory Peck.  And who can blame them?  He was the perfect blend of broodingly awesome lawyer and sensitive loving father.  If I could grow up to be anyone fictional… I would want to be Peck’s Finch.  (that sounded dirtier than I expected).

 

So there you have it.  Are you a dude?  Do you want to be cooler?

Then try to be more like me.

 

But if you can’t pull off THAT herculean task, then perhaps you should set your sights a bit lower onto one of my top five style icons.   Taking on any of their qualities will help you in your quest to be a little more awesome.

 

 

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Lights Out

 

I don’t think it’s completely unusual that I slept with a night light as a child.  It was comforting.  It soothed me.  It kept me from having panic attacks.  It was black, and small, and it was plugged into the wall about three feet from my bed.

I slept with that night light until I was about seventeen years old.  I’m estimating here, because I don’t know the exact day I graduated to sleeping in the dark, but I know that it was at an age that most people would find embarrassing (the actual age was around twelve, but still… that’s pretty old for night lights).

Sure, some people might be cringing at this admission.  They might feel like it will tarnish my reputation of being ALL MAN.  A reputation which I have cultivated.  But I don’t think that my night light detracts from my masculinity.  I think my adolescent terror  at the thought of a dark room increases my machismo.

I had really hoped by the time I reached this paragraph I would have come up with a way to justify that claim.  Some clever argument to suggest that being scared of the dark all the way to middle school was a manly pursuit.  But frankly, I never came up with anything.  I’m just spinning my wheels here.  Maybe now would be a good time to talk about how often I wet the bed… no?  Okay.  Sufficient paragraph.  Moving on.

I worried about death.  Like, more than is normal for a child.  Not about being killed.  Not about natural disasters like bears or earthquakes (well, maybe a little)… no, I worried about dying in my sleep and never knowing why.  I needed to feel protected, and surely the 10 watts being provided by my tiny bulb in the socket was granting me that protection.

But that’s really what fear of the dark is.  It’s fear of the unknown.  I’m comfortable with that.  I was scared of something happening to me and not being able to see what it was.  That seems rational to me even now.

What DOESN’T seem rational to me is what I required of my mother.  I could see under the crack in my door (when I eventually started closing my door, which was also at an absurdly late age) whether or not the other lights in the house were out.  If they were out, then I knew Mom had gone to bed.  If I wasn’t asleep by the time Mom went to bed, then I flipped out.  Like, vomiting and stuff.  Not cool. (I never realized how weird/sad/creepy that was until i just typed it)

So I made a deal with Mom.  If she thought I was still awake, she would leave the lights on in the family room.  And if she tried turning them out while I was still awake, I would come out and ask her to leave them on.

Initially, I’m sure this was an effort to convince me that my parent was still awake, and therefore I was still being looked out for.  But seriously, if I come out and ASK you to leave the light on, then clearly I know that there is no longer any one awake.

So, I’d imagine that I am substantially responsible for the current global energy crisis.  For, I don’t know, six years(?) I left on my night light AND required that a full 100 watt lamp be kept on all night.  That’s just wasteful.

I like to pretend that I’ve killed my fear of the dark.  But honestly, I think I’ve just found better ways to hide it.  Instead of a night light, now I have a cell phone being charged.  I have a laptop power button.  I have a giant digital clock.  My room is still as bright as noon day, and now I notice that I’m still being energy inefficient… but I sleep like a baby.

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Oliver’s Final Hour

I have every intention of sharing another story tonight.  The last one was surprisingly well-received.  So… thanks.

But first, I have a gift for you.  I know, I know… you probably didn’t get me anything.  And that’s fine.  I didn’t announce that we were going to be sharing presents tonight.  But for future reference, I like sweaters, books, alt-folk music, exotic pets, and I look particularly fetching in the color  blue.

 

This was the last day of Oliver.  This is a picture of my dear friend on the day he died.  He will be missed.  The reasons for his demise will be elaborated upon at a later date, but (SPOILER ALERT) it involves several trained monkeys, three police officers, a drag queen, and a box of rotten mangoes.

He lasted 225 days, and he was, to the end, a gentleman.  Ladies and Gentleman… for the final time… I give you… Oliver.

He died as he lived... a legend.

 

But, with the beardly business out of the way, I move back into story hour.

To join me, well, see the next post.  Because Oliver was a Headliner.  He shouldn’t have to share a post with a potentially boring story.

 

 

 

 

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Shirts are for losers

 

So I published that last post, and then I spent the better part of four minutes regretting it.  Not regretting it in a way that would make me UN-post it, but in a way that made my heart hurt.

It just sounded so pathetic.  And I don’t ever want to be that guy.  So to show you that there are no hard feelings, I offer you an charming story from my childhood…

When I was about four years old, I was in the grocery store with my mother.  She always took me grocery shopping with her because I did most of the cooking.  And I had a spectacular eye for good produce.  Toddlers don’t get enough credit for their abilities in the culinary arts… particularly at identifying a good melon.

So mom and I were cruising through the cereal aisle, which, to a four year old, is much like Mecca.  Colorful boxes, cartoon mascots, and truckloads of sugar? I imagine that I am where I am today thanks to Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lucky Charms**

But shockingly, cereal is not the point of this story.  The point is, while in the Row of Delicious Awesomeness (which is how I think of the cereal aisle in my head) I noticed another boy about my age.  Immediately upon seeing him, I knew that my life had taken an unfortunate turn somewhere.   This kid was SO much more kick-ass than I was that it made my eyes water.

Here was a child, MY age, in MY grocery store, in MY Row of Delicious Awesomeness… and he had a MOHAWK.  AND HE WASN’T WEARING A SHIRT!

How awesome is that!?!?  He was out IN PUBLIC without a shirt on.  I hated wearing clothes (a hatred which I carry to this day… ladies) but my dictatorial mother insisted that if I was outside the comfort of my room, I had to be fully dressed at all times.  She was a maniacal, power-hungry woman who kept me from realizing my dreams.  But I had no way of knowing that.  Because up until the moment that this ‘Hawk rockin’ bad-ass got in between me and the Golden Grahams I had no idea that ANYONE was allowed in public without clothes on.

I imagine at this point that I asked my mother if I could also remove my shirt.  I probably said it with a reasoned argument.  I generally spoke to my dear mom like the equals that we were.  The conversation sounds like this in my memory:

me-    Hey Ma, I can’t help but notice that this young man isn’t wearing a shirt.  Does that mean that it’s socially acceptable for me to remove my shirt as well?

mom-   ABSOLUTELY NOT!  This isn’t a slip ‘n slide, it’s a grocery store! Keep your shirt on!

me-   Mother, please, calm down.  I just assumed that if one person is allowed to remove their clothing, we all must be.  Perhaps this is some “clothing optional”  municipal holiday.  Maybe we ought to ask that young lad.

mom-  DON’T TALK TO HIM! He’s probably dying of some disease that makes him keep his shirt off!  You’ll catch the dying naked disease!  Now turn around and find me some fresh carrots!

 

Granted, my mother doesn’t talk like that.  And at four years old, I probably begged to take my shirt off, was reasonably denied, and then spent the next hour crying and throwing a fit (cuz that’s how I do, baby) but in my mind’s eye, I will always associate my lack of coolness NOW with having to wear a shirt and having to stick with my Shirley Temple-esque curls and  NO Mohawk.

 

Not a classic anecdote.  But… better than me whining about what direction to take the blog AM I RIGHT?

 

**Don’t take that as an endorsement for eating sugary cereals.  They are delicious and I’m a reasonably happy guy, but not many parents hope for their children to end up with my life.

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Post Beard Life

 

I have pictures of the final beard product.  I will share them with you.

But not tonight.

I think it’s time that we start the healing process.  Stuff our sorrows in a sack and try to think of life moving forward.  I know that I’ve hurt you, and I’ll have to carry that around with me forever.  But if we are ever going to have a meaningful blog relationship again, it’ll have to start tonight.

With a post that isn’t beard-centric.

I’ve been spending a lot of my time trying to figure out what I want my life to be about.  Everyone has that “thing” which drives them forward.  For some people it might be their wife/husband and children.  For some it could be their career.  Others might be seekers after causes.  Like vegan-ism.  Or politics.  Or an impressive collection of midget pornography.

I have none of those things.  I am a lonely man with no real goals, ambitions, or hobbies to speak of.  For the longest time I’ve filled the gaping voids in my soul with burritos or beards or meaningless speculation about the origin of furry woodland creatures.

But suddenly, those pursuits ring hollow.  I know that I may be waxing a little too philosophically tonight.  You’ll have to bear with me.  The real reason is…

 

If I don’t have something to get passionate about in my life, how can I be passionate about blogging?  Will my rabid readers be satisfies with listless rants about geese and my morning commute?  Will I be fulfilling the unwritten contract I have with the masses if I am incapable of finding a theme for this site?  I don’t know.  I have some thoughts.

So I open it up to you all:  I know there are still (idiotic) people who see my blog on a daily basis.  I ask you to let me know.  What do you want from me?  I put the direction of this blog into your hands.  If I don’t receive any responses, or if the responses are completely lame, then I will go with one of the ideas in my head.  But first, I throw it to you:  What do you want in this space?

The one thing I can tell you is this:  It won’t be about beards.  I still love beards.  I still love MY beard.  But the beard will be an interesting footnote to this site, not the focus.

Talk to me, world.

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Where I’ve Been

 

 

I shaved.

 

I feel bad about that.

 

Truly I do.

 

But we’ll have to move on together.

 

Eventually.

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Half Way

We shall ignore my flagrant lack of posts over the last month.  Instead, we shall dive in to the joy that is being half done.

My quest is 365 days.  Today is Oliver’s 184th day.  Here is a picture.

Oliver is gettin huuge.

 

This post was just an excuse to show that…

I have some ideas.  Posts may follow.

-E-

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