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For December we'll once again post our annual Christmas stories! This year's first line to start each story: She'd never seen a Santa suit used in quite that way.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Musing on Smiles

By Betsy Ashton

Our theme this month is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Many of my fellow roses have written about Clint Eastwood. Not me. Not today. I don't like the spaghetti westerns but give me a Dirty Harry movie and I'll bring the popcorn.

I'm in a serious mood what with all the bad news flooding our airwaves, so I'm going to look at good, bad and ugly -- smiles. Yes, smiles. Not the perfect teeth or bee-sting lips of starlets, but the smiles we see in the grocery store, on social media, at home. I think I have a good smile. I think it's goofy at times, but it's always sincere.

Good smiles light up the whole face, right up to the eyes. They welcome you to smile back. They make the recipient of said smile feel good. In return, the recipient of a good smile passes it back and along, maybe bringing sunlight into someone's dark day. These smiles aren't forced. They're spontaneous.

In a huge city, read New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Kolkata, a smile can travel across town in a few seconds. Smile at one stranger who smiles at another, and so on and so on and Scooby Dooby Do. Sorry, I slid off the track for a second. You get the idea. A good smile is a contagion that should be spread liberally.

Bad and ugly smiles do the opposite of good smiles. They tear the recipient down. A leer can make the recipient want to go home and take a shower. Yuck. Baring the teeth is a threat. Cue the shower and take the Glock with you.

Say someone shoves you and you fall. The shover walks over to offer a hand up. The shover smiles, gloats actually, about having caused embarrassment if not physical pain. The shovee is left to take the hand or not. Not wipes the gloat of the shover's face. If the shovee is really strong, she'll smile a genuine smile at the shover. Doing so takes back the power the shover has gained over her.

Bad smiles and ugly smiles don't make it around the world. They have limited life-spans. They die as quickly as they appear, particularly when the recipient ignores them.

Which do I prefer? The contagion of a good smile. You can hear it through the phone. Or in a silly smiley face on a tweet or email.

I challenge you:  Whose smile today will be the first one around the world? Come on. Show those gleaming whites.

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Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences. She is the current president of the state-wide Virginia Writers Club and usually smiles like an idiot all the time.

6 comments:

Jannine Gallant said...

You have a great smile. Betsy. I'm going to take your advice and try to smile more today!

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Love your smile, Betsy. I'm taking new head shots in a few minutes. Ugh, hate having my pic taken, so I'm also taking your advice and tying not to grimace through the process.

Diane Burton said...

Just 'cause I'm a day late, Jannine & Mackenzie, you didn't have to mention my first thought. LOL Yes, Betsy, you have a great smile. You are so right--a smile is contagious. I especially love smiles from my grandkiddies. Such unconditional love, truly genuine smiles. How can I resist?

Alicia Dean said...

What a great post...the good, bad, and ugly of smiles. Wonderful idea! And yes, you do have a lovely smile. Very contagious. My smile isn't very attractive, but I try to make it sincere. :) See, there's a smile right there!

Donna Michaels said...

Wonderful post, Betsy! You have a great smile, and yes, they are contagious and one of the simple, but best things in life. ;-)

Leah St. James said...

What a great post, Betsy! I love the idea of smiles catching. Too often it's the bad things that catch (like complaining and nasty talk). Thank you for making the world a nicer place.