While I was a little student in elementary school I found it difficult to smile at will. Being the odd rascal that I am, I spent my breaks looking for other kids who shared my problem. I figured, if I couldn’t smile at will, someone else must be the same as I! Unfortunately, after days of observing my fellow classmates, I resigned myself to looking up at the sky. Clearly I found it ever more difficult to find classmates who shared my condition. To make matters worse, you can guess what happened when the photographers came to take portrait shots of students for our family albums (I assume). To this day, that picture still stands on my dresser as a testament to how un-photogenic I
Now you may think, oh P, so you couldn’t smile, what a big deal. Well, guess what? That small detail really hurts when you’re stuck in elementary school. Your face actually translates into grades! The consequences of looking bored all day are very real when the teacher is looking around for things to write down for report cards. Bored looking kids have to work like old Ataris trying to launch Open Office 2.0 before they can get the same results as an attention-sucking, overactive kid. I’m tellin’ ya, emotion discrimination blows.
Fast-forward to about the past few months and I have a new problem: I can’t make angry faces at will while I’m in front of a mirror. The horror, one more obstacle to emotional expression. My attempts to produce an angry expression only resulted in an increasingly worried looking P. However, this morning resulted in an amazing breakthrough in angry P. I awoke, brushed my teeth, glanced at myself in the mirror, and stood in wonder: I looked terribly angry. As toothpaste dribbled down my chin, I immediately took a moment to review the morning for any aberrations. None. In fact, I don’t even recall the dream I had the last night, so what could it be? Then it hit me: I looked angry if I kept a neutral face and looked to the side! Victory…at last.
The problem? I keep a neutral face for most times of the day! At any given moment some unsuspecting bystander will turn and get a face full of angry P? Random casualties I suppose. It would be no different from walking through the streets of London on any given day – if you ask me.
But, now that we’re on the topic of smiling, that reminds of this really cute looking girl on the bus the other day. She smiled throughout an entire half-hour bus ride! I couldn’t help but monitor her to check if she got tired. By the end of the ride I concluded that she must have cheek muscles of steel…or she was in a happy mood…or both.
Anyhow, grab the nearest child in your proximity and tell them they have to work on that smile. Go ahead and point to the nearest cheeky kid and tell him that he has a choice: Either he smiles, or he makes that cheeky kid frown.