David Moseley

Uncool is in the house

2014-06-05 09:45

David Moseley

There was a brief moment, nothing more than the time it takes to spot a shooting star and attempt to draw a friend’s attention to the fading streak of light, where I was cool.

This rise to acclaim, rather fittingly, took place at my old job in a passage outside the men’s room. Walking towards the loo the Men’s Health fashion editor stopped me for a quick chat. While wandering off he casually threw over his shoulder a line I’ve held close to my heart for many years, “great look today, Dave”.

Finally, I thought at the time, I’ve made it. I’m one of the cool kids. My look is great. Beaming, I strutted confidently into the staff kitchen, opened my lunch and poured half a tub of yogurt down my top. Look ruined. Coolness gone, streaks of dry dairy product left in its place.

In truth, it was never meant to be. But you’ve got to try, right? At school the cool kids played a game called “steps”. Very simply, all you had to do to become a legend at lunchtime was jump from the top step and land on the bottom step of an ancient stone staircase without falling off.

More importantly, the staircase was in full view of the field where the girls from the adjoining girls school would eat their sarmies and sneak notes through the fence to the boys.

There were only five wide, but slippery, stone steps to master. Naturally, the first (and last) time I attempted the leap at lunch I ended up flat on my face just as the headmaster, who’d warned us the day before about our admittedly idiotic game, stormed past.

“Moseley,” he boomed while I nursed a sprained wrist and shattered ego, “in my office now you bloody fool.” I trudged off, the faux concern from my classmates turning to sniggers, the girls decidedly unimpressed.

Still, the human spirit is nothing if not resilient, which is how I found myself attempting to strive for coolness (hopefully) one last time just the other day.

Arriving to a packed parking lot on a bright, sunny morning, I was eager to show my friends the new bike I’d just purchased.

Noticing them across the dirt lot, I determined that the best possible way to approach them was by hopping over a low concrete barrier and landing right next to them, showing off my bike and my imposing mountain bike skills at the same time.

In my mind it all looked so nonchalantly impressive. I’d speed across the gravel parking area, lift my bike effortlessly over the barrier and land elegantly as everyone oohed and aahed at what the talent they’d just witnessed before them.

Perhaps even a few of the other mountain bikers in the parking area would nod in mesmerised appreciation, agreeing with each other that, “he got game”.

And so I pedalled, determined and ready for the acclaim that lay just a short hop over an inconsequential pavement. And then… gravel in my mouth, a bike on my back, a handlebar in my ribs, my shins lying dejectedly across the pavement.

Feigning concern, my friends slowly pulled the bike off me, before bursting into raucous laughter. Dusting off the sand I looked around the parking lot, only to see every other cyclist looking away or to the sky as if they’d just seen the most interesting cloud formation in their lives. Sniggers rang out. And in my head, the words of my old headmaster, “Moseley, you bloody fool.”

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