Thursday, October 15, 2009

When Smiles Go South

They might have been the happiest couple in the world for all I know, but they sure didn't look it. Perhaps their world was turned upside down, or perhaps it should have been.

I was sitting in the Halifax International Airport about two weeks ago now, waiting for the Air Canada groomers to clean the vomit out of the plane that I was about to board. My flight was delayed so to put in some time productively I did what I always do...I people watched. It gives me great joy to watch the behaviour/body language of others. I was fixating on the couple you see pictured above, particularly their smiles, or lack thereof.

It was approximately two or three years ago that I, one day, stopped and looked at myself in the mirror. I seriously looked at myself in the mirror. I noticed that the corners of my resting mouth took a distinct downward turn, thus giving the impression that I wasn't happy. I was, of course, happy, but with a mouth that looked like a depressed croissant I couldn't help but wonder if it made me look unapproachable to others. I spent a few weeks studying the faces of friends and strangers to see who looked happy and who didn't, then I smiled and got on with the rest of my life.

Fast forward to October 2009. I saw the couple in the airport and my interest in smiles was reborn. It's funny how things work out because there's been a flurry of activity in the smile department this week. I was listening to a Joel Plaskett song just the other day, while in Joel's hometown of Dartmouth. The lyrics which caught my attention were as follows:

Hey good looking, why the frown? You always look better when it's upside down.

When I returned to New Brunswick yesterday there was an e-mail message waiting for me. Someone wanted me to alter a family photograph that had been taken at Harvey's Studios in Fredericton. In the image you see a happy family...almost. One member of the family was clearly upset about something and she was absolutely glaring at the photographer. She ruined the otherwise tasteful portrait. In Photoshop I lowered her eyebrows and turned up the corners of her mouth, which were hanging down to the floor. It was amazing to see the difference that an upturned frown can make. Joel Plaskett, you were right!

Be sure to smile at someone today. Send a strong message. If you simply can't smile, then I'd suggest taking gymnastic lessons. You're going to have to learn the handstand, for the good of humankind.

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