Jason Keil

Jason Keil is a writer whose work has been published in the Phoenix New Times, AZCentral.com, Phoenix Magazine, and OnMilwaukee.com. He also co-hosts the podcast What The Fork.

Fatherhood: Week Twelve-Hip To Be Square

Total strangers were accusing me of being “hip.”

They were pointing their virtual fingers angrily at me because they believed I was insulting their favorite band on my pedestal of opinion. Some even went so far as to post a link to this website so fellow fans could see how cool I think I am. The only evidence of my hipness was having a blog. I should be so lucky if writing about my life for an audience of ten people makes me cool.

I will cop to making a conscious effort to be hip starting from the age of fourteen. I realized early on that my husky stature and pock-marked face would make it difficult to attract women, so I made up for it with personality, a large music collection, and a knowledge of random films. Oddly enough, compensating for my mediocre appearance was also ineffective.

I don’t remember the exact moment when I gave up my pursuit of coolness. I think it was after the divorce from my first wife was final. I was at my lowest point and keeping up with trends no longer seemed important. I was burnt out on attempting to impress others. I needed to get my shit together.

I am not trying to brag about how far I think I have come. I still struggle with this new way of thinking. I cry a little inside when I feel any part of that lifestyle going away. As the flash of the camera went off while getting my picture taken for my Costco membership card, I felt another part of me give up on showing everyone how awesome I think I am.

Would I rather see a new art film than Finding Dory? Indeed I would. It would satisfy my love of cinema and make me feel cool. There are nights when I want to check out that indie band getting all the buzz, but I have to be up early in the morning to go to work. I’m growing comfortable with that fact that these things are not going to happen. I am happy spending an evening making my son laugh with silly fart sounds.

Ironically, I’ve done just as many awesome things since Beckett was born than I did before he arrived. I’ve reviewed a major concert, attended a book signing, gone out for drinks, and even geeked out at the latest chapter of a science-fiction film franchise with some friends. I’ve felt a little guilty when I’m not there to enjoy my son’s heart-melting smiles or a diaper change. My wife and I are working together to balance our time parenting and pursuing those fashionable things we like to do. 

But we live in an amazing time now. I used to scoff at people who would rather stream a movie than see it the proper way in a movie theater. Now I am streaming movies constantly. Delicious food from that cool restaurant can be brought to my door with a few swipes of my phone. I don’t have to go searching for albums because they’re on Spotify. I feel guilty about this too because it affects someone’s livelihood, but I finally understand why this technology exists.

We no longer have to feel like we are missing out. People can be hip and responsible.

Are there moments when I want to be at a music festival? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, but streaming it on my TV isn’t so bad either. 

I just need to stop by Costco and get some diapers first.