by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in the Kaieteur News on 26 Jan 2006)
Smiling is good for you. This notion occurred to me this week when I read a letter to the editor from Angela Jones encouraging the staff at the General Post Office (GPO) to smile. Since my last couple of columns have been sort of heavy – and made a few prattling persons pickled (PPP) – I thought it would be nice to talk about something light for a change.
Guyana has so many very serious issues to be addressed on any given day that it seems beneficial to take a much needed break every once in a while just to smile. Smiling has always been one of my favourite pastimes. Well, smiling and reading, but the book I am reading right now is not a smiley-type of book.
It is about nanoparticles coming to life through a mishap at a lab. The nanoparticles then prey on living organisms, such as people and animals, to create more bacteria to sustain and enhance their pre-programmed swarming behaviour. I am only about two-thirds of the way through the book, but I am hoping the hero of the story, a middle-aged programmer, can find a way to destroy the rouge nanoparticles before they move out of the desert and into heavily populated areas.
See what I mean? The book does not make you smile, but it is so very intriguing and reading helps me to relax, which in turn keeps a smile on my face. That is the first step to being able to smile, knowing what makes you smile. For example, when my daughter calls me from college, I smile. When I have a good hair day, I smile.
When I see how passionate Freddie is about Guyana, it makes me smile. When I see letters to the Editor from fictional persons who propagate the propaganda of the PPP, I cannot help but smile. When I see pictures of Robert Persaud, MBA it makes me smile because he looks so much like my nephew and it makes me want to pinch his cheeks.
Last week, this paper ran a picture on its front page of the President surrounded by a large group of people and his arms around a sweet older woman. Everyone was smiling, which I thought was odd since the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the flooding situation. Be that as it may, that lady had such a beautiful smile that it made me smile.
For all of those crass grumps who would belittle the value of smiling, I took it upon myself to find some reasons to smile. I found these reasons on a Website (www.smileycollector.com) that I will share with you. Smiling is free, legal and non-fattening. It gives your mouth something to do when you are not eating or talking. Smiling makes you look like the “after” picture instead of the “before” picture and it gives you those cute little dimples that no one can resist.
This Website said that smiling makes you look innocent too. I wonder if that is true since I have seen some wicked-looking smiles in my lifetime. Freddie once backed down from an argument just because he saw my smiling picture, so maybe that statement is true. I wonder if the PPP looks at my smiling picture and thinks, “She looks so innocent.”
I also read a tongue and cheek article by Shannon Wand on the benefits of smiling. She said, “Smiling is the easiest, cheapest way to improve your looks. Try it. Go to your mirror and give a great big smile and see if you don’t want to make out with yourself! It takes about as much effort as blinking and we do that without even thinking. I’m smiling right now and it’s all I can do not to grab myself and go smooch me in a dark corner somewhere! Smiling is just that powerful.”
I don’t believe I have ever felt that great about my smile, but you get the point - smiling makes you look better. It makes you feel better too. There is a chemical reaction that plays a part in the smiling. I’m not quite clear on whether smiling releases these good chemicals into our system, or if the good chemicals are the elements that produce the smiles on our faces. Either way, the absolute conclusion is this – smiling is good for you.
Smiling makes others feel good too, which is why politicians are always smiling (well, except for Corbin). When we see someone smiling, it is natural to smile back even if we do not know the reason they are smiling. So by smiling, we can help others look good and feel good too.
Wand maintains that smiling will help you make money too. She said, “It’s been proven that smiling people make more money and have free sausage given to them more regularly than non-smiling people… The truth is that smiling makes you look happy and happy people are desirable. Let’s take, for example, a famous star like Julia Roberts. She sure does smile a lot and isn’t she really rich and popular?”
Okay, I admit that Wand is obviously not a doctor, but she does have a good point about those who smile. The truth is that we would all rather be around someone who is smiling and happy than to be around a grump who is complaining all the time.
No, smiling is not a cure for all of society’s woes. It will not clean the clogged canals or fix broken streetlights. However, it just might help make life a little more enjoyable.
I think this is the point Angela Jones was attempting to make to the staff at the GPO. Perhaps an experiment is in order. We can call it the Smiley Experiment. Here it is, if the staff at the GPO is not smiling, then as many patrons as possible should smile at them to see if it will help them to crack a smile. Those in the PNC should use the same concept to help Corbin with his smiling deficiency. Hey, it can’t hurt to try.