Monday, January 30, 2012

A Fool's Grin

Click to see what makes Pac smile.
Last week I posted a photo of my brother and myself spending Christmas with our five-year-old nephew. I was surprised by the reaction on Twitter. "OMG! Finally a smile!"

What? I smile all the time. I'm basically a very happy person. What does twitter know anyway.

The following day we had dinner with a dear friend who was visiting from Switzerland. The photos were on Facebook before I even saw the dessert menu. The next day JB said, "I've noticed something about you. You never smile in photos when you're next to me."


Rather than reminding JB that not everything is about him, I showed him my recent twitter feedback in an attempt to prove the Internet in general shared his complaint.

It's been a little over a year since I got my braces off. You'd think that would be all the reason I need to smile automatically. But it's hard to unlearn the habits picked up during a lifetime of being self-conscious about my smile, without even bringing up the past three years of orthodonture.

I remember the day I got my braces off, I stopped at my local watering hole for dinner and a beer. "You look upset. What's wrong?"

"Nothing!" I assured the stranger sitting at the bar next to me who pulled me from my train of thought.

"What are you looking at??"
"Sorry, you just looked kind of pissed off." I know he was just making small talk, but it made me think. Is this the first impression I make to the world? Because nothing could be further from the truth. Angry is something I get on rare occasions, it's not something I am.

Right then I made a decision. Who knows how many people and opportunities I'm scaring off with my sour puss. I paid a lot for this smile, I'm going to start using it!

It didn't come naturally, but I made a conscious effort to smile as I finished my beer. As I walked home, I realized it was a beautiful evening and smiled as I decided to take a detour through the park. The park was busy and I made a point to smile to everyone I passed. And to my satisfaction, everyone smiled back.

This encouraged me to broaden my smile as I walked. And each person I passed, alone, in pairs or in groups, returned my smile. I realized I was learning a whole new way of facing the world. As I entered my building, I paused in the lobby to check out my new smile in the mirrored wall that faces the elevators.

My smile disappeared as I wondered, "How long has my zipper been down?"


  1. I constantly get taken to the woodshed for not smiling in my blog photos. To that I say, "tough shit".

    I smile all the time, but when it is caught for the camera, it never comes across nice.

    Don't worry about what they say.