Cool Dad

A random statement in a car ad got my attention the other day. While I still wonder about subliminal messages and light-speed editing, the words stood out clear as day. Some guy excitedly offers how his life would change if he were behind the wheel: “I would feel like a cool dad!”

As the adults who represent the targeted demographic circle the car in awe, the statement “cool dad” is one of the few references to identity. The rest of the exclamations could be about cheeseburgers, video games or fireworks. Oooh, Aaah— oh, the car was candy-apple red. Now for some reason I have the scent of fairgrounds in my head…


Due to my twisted need for data I searched (you know which engine) “cool dad” to find, surprisingly, 1.3 million results. I was expecting a much smaller number (hundreds?) and immediately wondered if I was missing something. Are there 1.3 million cool dads in the world? Wouldn’t I know if I were on that list? What are the qualifications? The boys shared that a certain shoe brand was uncool and only for young children and old people. Is lack of shoe ownership part of the cool criteria?

Reality check. Despite the 1.3 million results I am pretty certain that cool and dad need not be cozied up in the word pile of identity. Dads may do cool things, but hopefully the cool part is not the intention. Cool and I had an unceremonious separation a very long time ago. So much so that I wonder if cool is just a romantic partner I imagined and wasn’t ever real.

Truth is, it doesn’t matter.  The only cool substance in my life is when I accessorize with ice packs after workouts, sleeping, going up and down stairs, and watching sports. I like my house to be cool, but even that is up for negotiation when Melanie brings out the blankets in July.

Dad is a good enough title. When my boys call me “Pops,” it doesn’t get any better. The word “Father” is perfect. We have our own day in June. And we have a community that extends to infinity and beyond… And we have a very important job to do.

I think that’s pretty cool.


Photo credit: Discovering Film (

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About Dr. John Panepinto

Direction. Execution. Evolution. Each day can be an expression of living with purpose and focusing on what matters most. My sites share this theme of vision, living in our most important roles and responsibilities from imagination and creativity in a simple, practical way. I am committed to educating and serving, founded in principles of development, that people can use and practice in their every day lives.