Many men and women have bent under oppression in order not to be broken. They are due endless homage. Many others have remained upright and been broken, knocked down, for their effort. They too are forever due our homage. In a Nazi concentration camp, an incredibly brave journalist infiltrator was rewarded with a crushing blow to his jaw for no other reason but his uprightness, his being unbroken. We can be thankful that today, in many parts of the world, a man or a woman can stand upright and have it counted as part of “the cool.”
Being cool, according to Ishmael Reed in today’s Times (December 19, 2013) is to “carry yourself with regal bearing” despite the circumstances. President Barack Obama is the epitome of the cool. Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, Blossom Dearie, jazz musicians everywhere, bring the cool to every performance. Now, how can you adopt a bit of the cool without going back to the piano for 10 years or getting elected President? Well, you might want to study the Alexander Technique. A teacher of the Alexander Technique may get you claiming your own regal bearing, coming up a bit — maybe even a lot — in your first lesson. You may find your uprightness to be more an expression of “let” — the cool — rather than “get,” decidedly uncool. Got cool? No? Get you some Alexander, baby.