Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I used to make my coworkers very nervous. They said I was (a) too happy and (b) too nice. It's an interesting turn of events when we reach a stage that smiling is suspicious and surliness is the norm.

On my little jaunt this past weekend, I encountered a LOT of people. They ran the gamut from extreme surliness to extreme pleasantness. What I noticed was the way that attitudes were contagious.

A nasty cranky woman waiting in the line for the restrooms as the fireworks infected everyone around her with her impatience and anxiety.

A friendly fast food worker sent everyone he dealt with on their way with a smile--a smile that lasted a long while.

My five year old granddaughter made our middle-aged waitress' day when she gave her a sunny smile and said, "You're pretty." There was nothing we could have asked for that would be too much for our waitress to provide.

Smile... it costs nothing.



  1. I am always really wary of people who are happy and smiling at work...it's just wrong

  2. One of my favorite writers, Walter Wangerin, wrote an essay on a similar topic. He said that every time we encounter another person we have two options: build them up or tear them down. Smiles, courtesy, the simplest of compliments, a sincere "Have a great day," anything like that, will build up the other other person. Rudeness, dismissiveness, etc., will tear them down.

    And whichever way we choose will have an effect on how that person reacts to the next person who comes along. It doesn't always take--some people are just crabby (or cheerful) no matter what we do--but it can often have a profound effect.

    If you haven't seen it already, watch the movie "Happy Go Lucky." It came out last year sometime and didn't get a lot of theater play (it's a British indie film), but it's a lot of fun and the main character is guaranteed to make you smile. I know it's available on Pay Per View, and should be out on DVD by now, too.

  3. So, so true. At the very least, smile as if you know something THEY don't. It keeps them wondering...

  4. I sorta did this over the weekend. Anyone who looked as if they were struggling to pay for fireworks got a few freebees thrown in their bag! And brightened some kids' days on Sundays when we started giving away free snap pops and the store decorations!

  5. Beautiful pictures of beautiful children. That had to be said first. Lucky woman, Ms. Cook.

    Smiling is definitely something I do often for a multitude of reasons.

  6. Love your photos below! I used to smile begrugingly, but now I just let it rip. I actually said "smile, asshole" to someone recently. FYI, that doesn't work so well.

  7. I couldn't agree more. A smile goes a long way.

  8. A smile costs nothing and can mean everything.