Dear Bro. and Co.,

     The other day, I picked up a CD for Little Man and myself:  “The Very Best of Thin Lizzy”.  Despite our current differences in musical tastes, there is one song that always brings us together in Father-Son Rock N’ Roll harmony – “The Boys are Back in Town”.  You just can’t deny that dual guitar attack.

     I had always wondered where they got their name – Thin Lizzy.  I was relieved to find out that it was a nickname for Ford’s Model T.  Them being from Ireland, the “H” is silent, thus it is supposed to be pronounced “Tin Lizzy”.  Sounds better that way.  My favorite Tin Lizzy song is “the Cowboy Song”.  If for no other reason, I find it funny that a black guy from Ireland is singing a Rock N’ Roll song about being a cowboy.  To  boot, it’s a fun, groovy song – “Roll me over and set me free – a cowboy’s life is the life for me.”

     The songs off of Jail Break were far and away the best songs Phil Lynott ever wrote.  Tin Lizzy had over ten records released which makes me wonder why this one, roughly 1/2 way through, was so much better.  Was Phil in the “zone”?  Was it the coalescence of all things in this guy’s life coming together, perfectly inspiring and stoking the fires of brilliance held within?  Or, was it that he was clear and sober at the time?

     Phil died a pretty gruesome death at only 36 years old – a result of chemical dependencies.  As a stage presence, he reeked of cool.  He dressed with a certain Rock N’ Roll flare, he used a cool jive type of talk, even his 70’s style fro seemed cool (for a brief moment, I actually wanted one.)  As cool a vibe as this cat may have had, it could not save him from using up those 9 lives way too fast.  When I think of Phil and all the other folks who have lost their lives to drugs, it makes me think about who and what is really cool.

    Cool can be like trying to figure out this Texas weather:  you’re never quite right – jumping from one extreme to the other.  (Although, right about now I wouldn’t mind being Sun Kissed)  Too hot, too cold – never quite right.  Never cool enough to be comfortable within my own skin. 

     After having been married 10+ years and having kids, I don’t really worry about it too much.  I find it challenging enough to try to be a good husband and a decent father instead of a selfish jerk.

     If we look at public figures, then seemingly coolness just doesn’t last.  Elvis, America’s King of Cool died relatively young; fat and bloated croaking on a crapper.  A seemingly inglorious, uncool way to go.  James Dean – gone.  Marilyn Monroe – dead.  Jim Morrison – buried in Europe.  The list goes on of so many “cool” famous people who died young.  Perhaps being cool is bad for your health.

     My theory is that there is some unwritten universal law that states that a person is only allowed a certain number of years to be cool.  Just like gravity, if you try to break the law – it will kill you. 

     More often than not, people just lose their coolness.  Seemingly, if you are a rock band, you have approximately one decade to be cool at most:  Zepplin – 70’s, Van Halen – 80’s, Metallica – 90’s.

     Cool, as defined by modern society is determined by the masses and the media.  The problem is that they are fickle.

     My favorite example of this is Tom Cruise.  Back in 1983, in the movie “Risky Business” he jumped on a couch and played air guitar and was proclaimed to be the hottest thing since sliced bread.  He remained a hot commodity until 2006 when America abruptly turned against Mr. Cruise for doing the very thing that had made him cool in the first place.  Maybe it wouldn’t have been as hokey if he had stood on Oprah’s sofa in his shades and underwear….

     Maybe Tom found out about the cool law and decided to take action.  Better uncool than dead, right?  Besides if he knows about the cool law, then he must know the by-law of Renaissance Coolness.

     The By-Law of Renaissance Coolness states that if you stick around long enough or if you make a well-timed “come back”, you can be super sheik once again.  Sean Connery, Johnny Cash, Johnny Depp, Diane Keaton, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zepplin, have all had their careers and coolness revitalized.

     My personal favorite is the Eagles.  They got back together and started selling out shows, $300 for the cheap seats.  Was it for the love of cool or for the love of money?  Not cool.

     The Hell Freezes Over Tour was a bit premature.  I’m guessing they wised up and opted not to see if it would actually happen.  Hope so…. or maybe it was for the money.

     Too bad cool isn’t something you can sell.  We could create cool kits, one for guys and one for girls; then everyone could be equally cool.  In fact, that is what we do in advertising.  Buy this outfit.  Buy this beverage.  Wear these shoes and so on.

     Just some of the fads since I’ve been around:  Michael Jackson jackets (no one wants to be like Mike now), the Miami Vice look, Michael Jordan sneakers (for $100 +, I’d better be able to fly), Mullets – ala Def Leopard (how did something so right become so wrong?). 

     Obviously what works for some doesn’t work for others.  And while it’s easy to say, “Just be yourself,” it’s impossible to do.  Why?  Where God did create us with unique personalities and abilities, He also gave us the instinct and desire to emulate.  Unfortunately, we don’t always make the best decisions.  That’s why I looked like a deranged Bumblebee most of the 80’s and a steriod-infused Al Yankovich clone in the 90’s.

     As a father, it is my good pleasure to see my children grow and prosper forming their own unique personalities and individual characteristics.  At the same time, I get a great kick out of them, especially Mathias (being that he is a boy), when they emulate me or something I think is cool.  On the other hand, I get agitated and out of sorts when they copy or take a shining to something I don’t like.

     Sometimes my zeal for like-mindedness goes to extremes; perhaps I should let go of certain trivial things like which toy to buy or which football team to root for.  Many times, I have felt a little guilty about it wondering where such behaviors come from.  When I have questions, I look up.  Our heavenly Father is much the same (although He doesn’t dog us until He gets His way); but He wants us to listen to and to be like Him.  B-I-B-L-E:  Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth – looking at it, especially the New Testament, I believe that a big part of the scripture is all about how God wants us to listen to and to emulate Him.  As you know, Jesus wasn’t always popular, but He has always been cool. 

     Now, we all know that the crowd was chanting, “Holy!!” and “Hosanna in the Highest” when Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; but for some reason, when I picture it, Him riding on that little donkey followed by the disciples, I can’t help but imagine the resounding chorus and the majestic harmonies of “The Boys are Back in Town”.  Cool.

Love and God bless, Uncle Buck “Wango” Lamb and the Tango Tribe