Here's a riddle to start you thinking: What can curve at the corners, droop in lopsided fashion, stretch to great extremes, crunch noses into cherries, crinkle eyes into almonds and turn rain into sunshine? What responds when your heart is breaking, when Irish eyes are doing it, when you want the whole world to join you? It can even become an umbrella!
Getting warm? Here's more: For Mona Lisa, it's lacquered; for Donny and Marie, it's plastered. Howdy Doody puppeted it. Emmett Kelly sobbed it.
Yes, a smile. But there's nothing to joke about when it comes to smiling. Some scientists take it quite seriously, claiming that the upward turn of lips is actually a primal, silent scream. Personally, I think they're wrong. I don't think a smile is any ONE thing.
Consider what a smile opens for inspection: There's the plastic smile, the sickly smile, the I'm-smiling-now-in-front-of-these-people-but-wait-until-we-get-home-smile. Or picture the teasing smile, the mocking smile, the knee-slapping grin. Recall the dentifrice ad smile, the snaggle-tooth smile, the gold inlaid smile, the electric warmth lover smile,the wistful grandmother smile, the dimpled baby smile. Why there are enough smiles to mandate writing a lexicon for understanding!
But for the moment, bask your thoughts in the last smile that you received -- the one that you answered, that made you feel like you had been noticed and accepted just for being YOU, that maybe even made you straighten your shoulders or skip or whistle.
Pretty powerful reflex, would you not agree?
I'd like to think we have real facial power that can become proactive rather than reactive. We don't have to wait for that feel-good moment when a store clerk, a friend, a passer-by, or even the stranger in the elevator flips a smile in our direction. WE can be the senders. I can't figure out why we hoard such a precious thing as an I-care-for-you-fellow-human smile. Too often we're like misers, giving away the most meager coin in our rusty treasure chest.
In these days of gloom and doom, high rates and low expectations, moral majority and immoral minority, wouldn't it make a difference if we unleashed the power of a genuine smile? What a transformation might arise if we answered that instinctive (and probably primal) impulse which is often pushed to the bottom of our gut and just for one week - nay,even one day - turned a real megawatt smile on our world.
'll bet OPEC would pay richly to tap that energy source.