There he was, sitting in front of the computer, acting as though nothing mattered, not even the game in front of him. Age 18, specky, almost dopey-looking but still cool enough to wear a Coke cap, this ‘child protege’ who has made much more than many much older than him, simply by playing computer games, smirked when I spoke with him.

“They said it could not be done, but I did it,” his smirk seemed to say. His ostensible replies of shy, monosyllabic answers reminded me of how little I knew of the language of ‘cool’ today. The trick, I gathered (correct me if I’m wrong) was to speak volumes without saying a word. Alas, it was communication foreign to me. My dictionary is a decade old. It reeked of impertinence and there was nothing I could do about it.

I was impertinent once. Being a ‘crooked-As’ student (in that there were A2s laced in between the A1s, and even the occasional C3), I drove my teachers and parents up the wall as I paid little attention in class and studied even less at home. It was an enigma that I could do so well. Little did they know of the hours I spent under a blanket with a torchlight. It just wasn’t cool to been SEEN studying, that’s all, but I didn’t want to be a loser as well. It was rebellion (without doing any real damage to yourself or others), pure and simple. After all, what could you do to me if I score 8As while sleeping in your class?

“This will be in the two-pages I talked about in next month’s issue,” I finally said to Master A.

“Wow, two pages. That is so cool,” came his sarky reply, and he didn’t even look at me. I truly felt like whacking the back of his head. Instead, I walked away. Maybe that’d say something.