Thursday, March 11, 2010

When you’re smiling … the whole world aims at you.

My wife and I went to a neighborhood popcorn shop this week. I held the door for her, walked in and looked around at their offerings. There was a slice of red velvet cake that I gravitated towards. Thoughts of the exercise I should be doing and the calories presented before me prevailed so I continued to just look. Karen found what she wanted, made her purchase and we left the store.

She then asked me what was wrong. I told her nothing was wrong. She informed me that a store clerk looked at me cautiously and told me that I could be that I don’t smile. I agreed, I don’t smile much but I do make it a point to smirk several times daily and guffaw at least three times daily.

What followed was a lecture from her about how I don’t look happy, others say I don’t look happy, my scowl is so unattractive, ad nauseam. I explained that, in the several times that she mentioned this, I have made great efforts to present a cheerful countenance throughout the day.

And then I began to reflect. I used to smile a lot until third grade when Henry Crawford punched me and knocked out my tooth. I didn’t smile as much but I tried until after I ran a foot race with fifth grade classmates, Lance Campbell tripped me and I chipped a front tooth which needed capping.

No more smiling for me. What I needed was a game face that I would don before I leave home every morning. Throughout the years, I made some adjustments here and there but I still carry it around.

Now I know that I don’t really need the game face as much. I also know that it takes more muscles to frown than smile; people gravitate toward others that have a “winning smile” and smiling releases endorphins which help to prolong life spans. My personal experiences are with others who smile while they sharpen their blades, probe and stab at soft spots and tell you “this will only hurt a little bit.”

“Do as you would be done by” is the Golden Rule and creed that I live by and I believe that everyone is capable of doing kind and noble acts. But as we know, many live by “he who has the gold makes the rules” and run over the disenfranchised, dejected and depressed among us. I believe this is what I carry around on my face.

I want my share of endorphins. I want to live longer. But I will not be a victim to the conquerors and tyrants among us.

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