Ryan Alexander-Tanner

I spent the entirety of my 20s trying to be cool and accidentally having fun in between. The nuisance of it all is that I failed, even for 45 seconds, to be cool. I'm wack as fuck, I've been wack as fuck, I will remain wack as fuck.

It wasn't a total waste, of course, because while trying to be cool I learned about some cool things that I happen to genuinely enjoy—music, movies, restaurants, analingus, art. It made me a more interesting person, I suppose, and the dynamic turmoil of those years helped inform the mostly happy person I am today. Still, I have regrets.

There were things I passed up and skipped out on because they didn't seem to fit how I wanted to be perceived—even though I'm almost certain I would've enjoyed them.

I say all that to say this: I went to Coachella last weekend, and I had a really good time.

While I was having fun at this massive musical festival, it was being torn apart on social media by all the people who are cool the way that I used to want to be cool. They spit endless poison about the event itself, and threw untold shade on the people shelling out GOOD HONEST AMERICAN DOLLAR BILLS to be seen at this temporary scene. And the fucked part about it is, they're right.

I was there. It's a circus. You have to Catherine Zeta-Jones your way through entanglements of flesh to move through the crowds. It's hot, and drunken, and people wear matching outfits—some of them even on purpose. If you want to see a band perform, you're going to get shoved by a teenager. Most of the people stink. There's an inexplicable amount of face paint. Beautiful, young people are nostalgic for a time they only ever experienced through VH1 shows, and their parents' record collections. It's, you know, a music festival.

All of these criticisms are true, and yet the fact remains, it was fun. I got to see A$AP Rocky bring out an unannounced Kanye West, and then I got to see Kanye's mic get cut 'cus he went way over time. I got to see Vince Staples deliver the best live hip-hop concert I've ever seen in my life, until an hour later when I saw Ice Cube deliver the best live hip-hop concert I've ever seen in my life. He brought out Snoop, and MC Ren, and WC—and WC crip walked. Just like he did on that Up in Smoke Tour DVD I watched in my room in high school.

I saw LCD Soundsystem play the hits and then cover David Bowie. I saw Guy Fieri and Guns N' Roses in the same day. Fucking poetry, man. I didn't give a fuck if it was cool. It was fun.

Maybe you shouldn't give a fuck, either.