So the other day Baby Brother calls to tell me that he’s packing up his wife, the dogs, his fly-tying gear and my favorite toddler namesake and moving to North Dakota. I was trying to keep it together as he rattled off a detailed list of all the benefits to this move. Farther away from me. To a foreign land.

“Cool,” “Oh, that’s cool,” “That’ll be cool,” was all I could say.

But inside I was dying — wailing like a spoiled brat, “This is a tragedy!! Oh my gaaaawd! He’s taking my little girl away! And he’s raising her to be a North Dakotan!! This is tragic, truly tragic!!”

When I couldn’t take his perky prattling any longer, I interrupted him.

“Bro, I’m happy for you guys, really, but this is a personal tragedy for me. I just have to say that. Cool for you maybe, but tragic for me. OK, it’s somehow both tragic and cool, like, ‘tragicool.'”

At this point, not that I was any less devastated, I became enamored with and a little distracted by my new word. “Tragicool,” I’d say to every positive point he made — to help mask my pain and, well, because I’m shallow.

Better paying job? Tragicool. Nice schools? Tragicool. Cheaper house prices? Tragicool. Maybe be able to buy some acreage to get a pony? (Which he said just to make me happy, but still … .) Tragicool, man.

The two things that I got from our conversation were: 1) He doesn’t care if he breaks my Aunty heart, and 2) He was more annoyed than impressed with my new word.

Whatever, but I did follow his instinct on the second part — Baby Brother knows funny — and I shelveded my new word without dragging it out into public … until about a week later when I saw spectacular photos online of some guy’s house being engulfed by lava.

“Ooooh, dude,” I told my computer screen, “tragicool.”

What a perfect word! Now I’m all about tragicool and spreading the word on the word.

So here are a few examples of appropriate usage:

The guy with the house in a bed of lava in beautiful Hawaii had spent the last three years watching lava push doom closer and closer to the home. In the last hours of the night on July 23, he watched the lava, glowing red in the night through cracks in the black hot-melt as it finally ooze around his home, heating it with primordial fire until it burst flame. Tragicool.

The guy sat at a picnic table watching his beloved home burn to the ground and his property become a lava-flow wasteland, sharing the moment with a friend, a handful of photographers and a bottle of aged wine. You are tragicool, dude.

I like a solid marriage of the heart wrenching and the glorious.

A few days before the January earthquake that destroyed Port-au-Prince, Haiti, an infant girl was badly burned and sent to the hospital where her mother was told the prognosis was not good. After the earthquake leveled the hospital, the infant was thought to have died along with the other hundreds of thousands of quake victims. Unknown to her mother, the baby was found alive in the rubble two days later with an arm so badly injured doctors at the emergency medical facility had to amputate it despite her weakened condition.

Everything about this story, aside from the not dying part, was tragic, no doubt. But don’t fear, there is coolness to be found.

The doctors realized the baby needed a special surgery to save her from her original burn wound that was leaving her at high risk for a brain infection. The surgery was only available at a specialized hospital, so they helped arrange for a charitable organization to fly her to London where she received the care she needed.

This month the organization helped reunite the infant with her mother who was astonished to find her now 8-month-old daughter alive and well. Tragicool.

It’s everywhere.

We are foursquare in favor of comicool, too, at: pam(at)