Archive for January 3rd, 2011

Share something that makes you smile.  Or, as the title suggests:  Smile:  It makes people wonder what you’ve been up to.

In a recent issue of Modern Maturity — yes, I am old enough to be getting that magazine under my own steam — there was an article about learning a foreign language.  One of the contributors was a Russian-American, and he noted that “Nothing is more ridiculous to Russians than smiling over nothing.”  I heard about this when I was taking college courses in Russian, too; Russians think that Americans are idiots, walking around with grins on their faces all the time.

When I heard that (and again when I read it), I had a flashback to my childhood:  I’d be sitting there, staring off into space, perfectly happy mind you, and somebody would come along and say, “Smile!  It can’t be that bad!”  And I’d be left sitting there, wondering what on earth they were talking about.  What was the point of smiling all the time?!  I’ve never figured it out.  At the time, I didn’t know that I was of partially Russian descent.   Now that I do know, I have a better understanding of both my failure to Smile and my reaction to people’s injunctions.

Then there was the Protestant pastor’s wife who was one of these happy-smiley types, and who likewise thought I should Smile more.  “Positive thinking!” she would say (naturally with a smile on her face).  One day I’d had it up to Here with all that positive b.s., and I said, “Naw, I believe in the power of negative thinking.”  She, of course, was horrified.  Then I explained, “If you go through life expecting the worst, it will rarely happen.  So when it does, you’re prepared for it, and when it doesn’t, you’re pleasantly surprised.  So I’m always being pleasantly surprised.”  She didn’t know what to say.

Now that makes me smile.

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