I’m 42. I’m beyond worrying about being ‘cool.’ I’m talking about staying calm and not freaking out, especially in front of my kids. Today was a real test.

Staying Cool means

-) not blowing up on the guy at the tire shop for taking an hour to check a leaky tire after my workout. It wouldn’t have struck me, but they were apparently taking folks that arrived after me without appointments and the family was on a schedule. It paid off. All I had was a loose core in my valve stem which they tightened free of charge.

-) looking at both kids with a smile and asking, “is everyone ok,” after getting rear-ended at a red light on our way to the state fair.

-) choking down the snarling wolf that wants to rip the throat out of the joker that had the audacity to rear end MY van when I’ve got my KIDS in the car! Again, asking with a smile, “is everyone ok?”

-) calmly facing your teary-eyed children, who are sure their big day out is ruined, when they ask, ‘are we still going to the fair, Daddy?’

Assuring them, ‘of course we are guys. We’re just going a little later because Daddy and the man who hit us need to talk to the police for a while first.’

-) eating your fear when you realize the 9yo is finally a hairs’ breadth tall enough to ride the roller coaster he’s been dreaming of for three years and allowing him to go on. Even after you realize that once the shoulder harness lock down, his arms aren’t long enough to reach the safety handle in front of him. I don’t think I bruised his leg holding on to his thigh. Just in case.

-) wiping off the sweat, trying not to limp and laughing along with the 9yo gets off the Alpine Bob. After all it’s not his fault, and he doesn’t need to know, that you vaulted off the steel rail and took the stairs to the operator’s booth in threes. The boy doesn’t need to know that you’ve been arguing with the operator to stop the ride immediately because the car you THOUGHT your kid was riding alone in suddenly turned up empty.

He doesn’t need to know that you watched that fucking ride go around at least 4 times scanning every car where you thought he OUGHT to be and STILL not seeing him. He doesn’t need to know that it was only once the ride reversed from clock wise to counter clock wise and you spotted him in the car in front of different pair of teenagers, that the adrenaline finally started to ebb. I’m sure he’s still trying to work out why exactly Daddy needed such an extended hug after the Alpine Bob but not the roller coaster or the Freefall.

-) smiling and high-fiving as the boy comes out of the Gravitron with its sealed doors and zero visibility for outsiders. The Gravitron twirling at Mach 6 like some deranged top from Hell. I hope it never occurs to him when he’s a parent that the sound of those body boards (and face it, that’s exactly what they are!) finally yield to centrifugal force and rise to the top of the ride slamming home with a sickening metal on metal THUNK leaves a father wondering exactly how close to the top of that board was my child’s head?!

Yeah, I’m cool like that.