Smartass

SHAM or How To Be Cool Like Mike

When anyone meets me for the first time, they see that my build is slight, my hair looks like a Brylcreem ad, my glasses are older than me, and I’m probably humming a song that their grandparents might hear and go, “That song was popular when I was a kid. That’s before your time, isn’t it? Wait, are you Dorian Gray?” In short, I am not someone whose finger is on the pulse of hip culture. Of course, the reason for that is because hip culture filed a restraining order against me, and I’m now unable to get that close to it. It has absolutely nothing to do with my being a huge square. Nope.

So, when someone says to me “You look like Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters” or “You look like the older version of George McFly in Back To The Future”, I know what they mean. What they’re really saying is, “You are clearly the most effortlessly cool person I’ve ever met. Tell me how to be better. Tell me how to be more you-ish and less me-ish.”

As Carl Rathburn soon learned, being more Mike Calahan-ish is more than just wearing glasses. It's not having a chin and shaving your chest with a dull razor.
As Carl Rathburn soon learned, being Mike Calahan-like is more than just wearing glasses. It’s also developing a weaker chin and shaving your chest with a dull razor.

“So, what can someone like me, a total shlemiel*, do to become as cool as you, Mike?” is a question asked by countless** people everywhere I go***.

Because I am incapable of creating the science necessary to change the world into one inhabited entirely of Me’s, I had to arrive at another solution. Inspired by my own near-average level of literacy, I decided to come up with a name that was easy to remember, kind of like NATO or NECCO or NAMBLA. You know, something with pizzazz!

To better help you, the reading (but admittedly uncool) public, I present four categories: Style, Hipness, Athleticism, Masculinity.

Or SHAM.

Let’s tackle these one at a time, shall we?

Style – Fashion magazines are a great source for inspiration on clothes and dressing appropriately. Of course, the fashion magazines most helpful to you are found in antique stores (and sometimes on eBay), and include such timely articles as ‘Juvenile Delinquency and Bebop: Is There A Connection?’ and ‘MacArthur Predicts End to Korean Conflict’. Now, with your horn-rim glasses, slicked down hair, cuffed jeans, and striped t-shirt, people spot you in a crowd and think one of two things. Either “Hey, that guy kind of looks like my grandfather as a young man. He’s dead, now.” or “Hey, we must be near a tear in the space-time continuum because there goes what is obviously a kid with his very first paper route during what is presumably the Truman administration.”

Some of you may be wondering, ‘What about hats? What kind of hat should I wear to be like you?’ Unfortunately, as you become a Mike Calahan, you will soon realize that your head is abnormally small. As such, know that even hats tagged Small will hang down over your ears, making you look like a 4th grader who borrowed his dad’s clothes in order to play Professor Moriarty in his school’s production of Sherlock Holmes. In short, no hats for you.

Because most clothing stores dont actually carry your size, Mike Calahans will have to settle with the smallest available size and hope for the best.
Because most clothing stores don’t actually carry XS, Mike Calahans will have to settle with the smallest available size and hope for the best.

Hipness – No, this is not to suggest that there exists a correlation between wide hips and being Mike Calahan. Rather, this means is that you are just sooooo up on contemporary pop culture and social influences. For example, when someone asks, “Have you heard the new Ariana Grande?” you might respond, “The Huffington Post lady?” OR when someone asks what movie you saw over the weekend, you may answer, “Oh, I watched Leave Her To Heaven. Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews, 1945? Oh, you know, they were in Laura together. Jeanne Crain is in it, too. She plays the sister. She’s great. I’ve seen her in People Will TalkState Fair,… Oh, and Cheaper by the Dozen, which was… No, the 1950 version. No, I never actually saw the remake. So, anyway, Myrna Loy and Clifton Webb play the parents and…” You’ll know that you have achieved true Mike-dom if, as you continue talking, the person’s eyes begin to gloss over. It means you are very cool and has nothing to do with their deep regret derived from having ever asked you that question to begin with.

Remember: No matter what the topic, your references should not only be dated, but also obscure so as to isolate you from the vast majority of your contemporaries.

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Jennifer Suttlidge counts the number of seconds it took before she regretted asking for movie recommendations from Mike wanna-be Greg Holden.

Athleticism – As a Mike Calahan, your body will become a temple, one worshiped and envied by just about everyone. At 132 pounds, your domineering and imposing physique makes street gangs cross the street out of respect. Be warned, though, that you will be so good at every activity you attempt that you will begin to question whether there exists anything that even resembles a real challenge. Like the one time your wife raced you in a pool using paddle boards and how the water around you frothed with white suds because you were kicking so hard and how your feet were slapping the water with such ferocity that your skin began to sting and how, as you watched your wife reach the other end of the pool, you realized that you had literally not moved five feet. Not even three feet. In this scenario, one of two things presumably took place. First, your athleticism single-handedly disproved Newton’s Third Law of Motion that for every action there exists a reaction. OR your athleticism was so intense that you actually travelled forward to the point in time where you had already propelled from end to end of the pool in the time it took your wife to reach one end.

Gary Stratten works out constantly and refuses all food in his goal of getting down to a Mike Calahan 132 from what he calls his “fatty fatness of disgusting flabby fat” weight of 135. Be nicer to yourself, Gary.

Masculinity – The key here is consistency. So, whenever possible, be sure to use such phrases as, ‘that’s adorable’ or ‘oh my god, that’s the cutest’ to fully convey the brutal masculinity that you embody. Instead of being proud at, say, the number of antlers on your wall, react with almost girlish glee at the site of a chickadee or titmouse at your bird feeder.

Of course, your hard-living is nothing without the hard, Hemingway-esque drinking that accompanies it. So, when you feel like a drink, remember the following recipe for a drink often referred to as Why The Hell Even Bother:

1 part whiskey or bourbon

4-5 splashes of chocolate bitters

(+ an additional 5 or 6 splashes)

then fill the rest of the glass with the diluting power of sparkling water

Oh, and a ton of ice

Then add a few more splashes of chocolate bitters

With this drink, yours becomes a raw and animalistic, almost prehistoric, masculinity that makes Navy Seals tremble in their boots. And on that inevitable day when someone says to you, ‘You’re all man’, you’ll be able to puff up your chest and, with a glint in your eye, respond confidently, “It’s true. Technically, I am male.”

So, if you remember nothing else, if you only take away one thing from this post, remember that the secret to being like Mike Calahan is a SHAM.

You’re welcome.

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After telling this local Mike wanna-be to “stand over there and don’t move,” the town of Glenville inches away in an attempt to relocate to an undisclosed location.

*I apologize for using such obscene language, but sometimes I am just that edgy

**Countless because, technically, zero is a quantity that cannot be counted

***I’m actually a shut-in

10 thoughts on “SHAM or How To Be Cool Like Mike”

  1. Wow… that is what mom and dad said when they brought you home from the hospital and I eagerly rushed over to find out if you were my brother or sister….. after a long pause, they stammered…”technically, he is a male”….. And then they let your hair grow into those really long Shirley Temple ringlets….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you’re actively trying to present yourself as unhip, all you’re accomplishing is that you’re now turning as a hipster. And not just one of those mainstream hipsters who are steadily becoming uncool, but the ultra-trendy hipster who just hit on a new uncool look that hasn’t been lame-ified by mass production yet.
    I guess that’s what SHAM is really about.

    Liked by 1 person

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