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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Smile (duh)

When I lived in Tokyo, English programs on broadcast TV were hard to find (and I never get cable--otherwise I'd spend my days staring passively at that box, instead of interactively at this one).

One of the shows that we did get in my final years there was the quirky Ally McBeal. And my favorite character on it was the supremely weird John Cage, portrayed by Peter MacNicol.

One of his goofy bits was "Smile Therapy." When something annoyed him (which was usually), he'd assume a fake-looking ear-to-ear grin.

His quirk was based on an unproven idea that, when your face is smiling, it tricks your brain into thinking you're happy.

That may be putting the cart before the horse; and in John Cage's case, the usual result was that he freaked people out.

But look at it another way: let's say you’re in a tense situation. You have two choices: yell at the other guy, or smile at him. He's expecting the yell; the smile might disarm him, which could take the situation in a whole new direction.

There are lots of reasons to smile, some good, some not. But one thing's for sure: smiles get reactions. As the old saying goes, "Smile. It will make people wonder what you've been up to."

And, maybe, you'll be happier.

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