So, you’re at a party and you meet somebody who may or may not be cool, and you begin to wonder how you should figure that out.
One way might be to just get really drunk and see which version of yourself ends up speaking, but that’s typically a terrible idea. If anything, you should drink less than normal in these situations. Here is a simple way to find out if a person is cool before you find out the hard way that their apartment is actually an asylum for 48 feral cats.
1. Mention The Sandlot. If I say, “You’re killing me, Smalls!” and the person I am speaking to gets the reference, I know they’re at least kind of on the same wavelength as me.You can replace The Sandlot with any movie you really liked as a kid; reenacting Henry Roengartner throwing laundry detergent into the machine while pretending to start for the Chicago Cubs is much riskier, but can also provide great results.
2. Ask them if they have ever listened to Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music in its entirety. This is the ‘oh god, you rescue feral cats on the reg, don’t you?’ question. Most likely, this person doesn’t instantly know who Lou Reed is, and might not even know Velvet Underground outside of the Andy Warhol art on the cover of the record they did with Nico. This is fine. However, if the answer to this question is yes, the person you are talking to is either a serial killer or a music critic. Both of these groups of people are extremely dangerous.
3. Ask them what they thought of Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park 3. This is a trick question: this book doesn’t exist. If they say they haven’t read it, or that it doesn’t exist, that’s great. If they pretend that they’ve read it, it means that this is the kind of person who will lie to seem cool. These people are terrible. Flee the scene immediately.
4. After a bit of talking, say the most contrarian, ridiculous thing you can think of. Things like “Almost Famous is a shitty movie!” or “Pippa Middleton’s ass was underwhelming,” or “U2’s Stuck in a Moment isn’t the worst song ever recorded!” will work. (For the record, I stand behind the first two statements, while I firmly believe U2’s Stuck in a Moment is obviously the worst song ever recorded.) If this person enjoys talking to you, they will forgive you for being ridiculous this one time. If they’re actually interested in your reasoning for making this statement, then you’re well on your way. Now you can actually ask them questions about themselves, and get to know them as a person instead of using media to test their normalcy.
I suppose this is a flawed list, in that it is based almost entirely around media. But media is how we get to know people, so if you follow these simple rules you will be able to quickly identify people who are cool, and awful people who have never watched the Great Hambino hit a home run.