The Super Fun Kids' Graphic Novel Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


How to Be Cool

I am totally not cool. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. Though I have managed to scam myself into a certain level of cool-by-association — I do boner jokes and swears on the Internet, you know — I have never been cool and I will probably never be cool. I don't know anything about bands, marijuana gives me night terrors, and I love '90s PC adventure games (MONKEY ISLAND, WHAT) and young-adult fiction about lady knights. Luckily, I have cool friends, and they wrote some cool chapters about being cool in our cool book, How to Be a Person. I keep this one laminated in my purse in case I'm trying to seduce a music nerd.

What the Albums in Your Dorm Room Say About You

THE BEATLES: You own an album.
THE ROLLING STONES: You own two albums.
THE BEACH BOYS: You have never surfed in your life.
THE CLASH: You’re experimenting with Marxism.
SLEATER-KINNEY: You’re experimenting with lesbianism.
BELLE & SEBASTIAN: You’re experimenting with acting gay to get the girls who are experimenting with lesbianism.
MINOR THREAT: You’re straight-edge and no fun at parties.
FUGAZI: Used to be straight-edge, still no fun at parties.
Q AND NOT U: Used to be straight-edge, learned how to dance, finally fun at parties!
JAWBREAKER: You get sentimental about punk shows.
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM: You get sentimental about dance parties.
PHISH: You were in high school jazz band, and now you smoke pot.
BOB MARLEY: Your parents know you smoke pot.
THE RAMONES/SEX PISTOLS: You resent your parents for paying your tuition.
PUBLIC IMAGE LTD.: You’re in communications.
ARCADE FIRE: You’re in musical theater.
DEVO: You’re in experimental arts.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND: You wish you’d gotten into a better school.
PAVEMENT: You test well but don’t do your homework.
PUBLIC ENEMY: You resent “the Man” and/or are embarrassed about being the offspring of “the Man.”
THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.: You’re a chubby-chaser with necrophilia.
LIL WAYNE: You love comedy and possibly cough syrup. (No homo!)
LADY GAGA: You hate social injustice and possibly pants. (Yes homo!)
PRINCE: You are funky, sexually freaky.
AL GREEN: You are tastefully horny and likely to be a good lover.
TOBY KEITH: Your dick smells like goat butt.
GLEE SOUNDTRACK: You hate music.

Did it work? Are you seduced? If anyone wants to talk to me about Monkey Island, you can reach me at

÷ ÷ ÷

Lindy West writes about movies, movie stars, exclamation points, lady stuff, large frightening fish, and more. Lindy's work has appeared in The Stranger, GQ, New York magazine, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the New York Daily News,, and other places. She is currently a writer for

Books mentioned in this post

  1. How to Be a Person: The Stranger's... Sale Trade Paper $8.98

Lindy West is the author of How to Be a Person: The Stranger's Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos, and Life Itself

One Response to "How to Be Cool"

    Ann September 7th, 2012 at 12:52 am


Post a comment:

Get Your Gravatar

  1. Please note:
  2. All comments require moderation by staff.
  3. Comments submitted on weekends might take until Monday to appear.
PowellsBooks.Blog uses Gravatar to allow you to personalize the icon that appears beside your name when you post. If you don't have one already, get your Gravatar today!
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at