It’s time to forget the resting happy face, and the resting unhappy face, too. I see it floating around the internet at times, some funny or serious exposition on the state of a person’s natural “resting face.” I’m the most guilty of this, in fact. Living in Bethesda I’ve mentioned more than once that I was a bit perplexed by the “Bethesda Scowl.” How could so many people walk around looking so unhappy in such a great place to live?
It’s time to stop worrying about our resting faces and start refining our working faces, our playing faces, our gifting faces. Sometimes when I’m on the Metro, where you aren’t supposed to make eye contact with others, I look people right in the eye… and smile! It’s always fun to see the reaction. A few will smile back, most hastily look away, and if they happen to be tourists they actually strike up a conversation. Who made the rules to say that we shouldn’t be engaging one another on the Metro to increase the globe’s smile content? It often seems that the same rule applies to walking around Bethesda or downtown DC.
About five years ago when our family had just lived in Bethesda for a couple of years, we realized we hadn’t been to a Walmart since our move here from Texas. I know that many of you hate the very existence of Walmart, but until you’ve lived in Texas and had three Super Walmart stores within a mile of your house you can’t know how integral they become to your life. Anyway, we set out to find a Walmart. To be completely honest, I had found a pair of reading glasses online I wanted and Walmart was the only store where I could find them in stock. We set out to go explore Howard County and find their Walmart. It was a long drive into Maryland and away from the comfortable confines of the Beltway to which we had become so accustomed. As we walked across the parking lot I grew more and more self conscious about peoples’ stares. Teresa felt it too and we are asking each other, “Do I have a booger or something?” During our mutual inspection she realized what was wrong: people were making eye contact with us. Very NOT Metro DC of them.
Let’s make a gifting face for our neighbors to enjoy. Do we have the energy, the strength, the quiet faith in one another to manage a little smile, and hold it? I’ll admit, it’s hard for me to think of my face as a gift to anyone. I’m a little too Orc’ish to be very thrilling for the masses. Still, I share a bit of the global responsibility to make the energy and legacy of this day with my neighbors.What’s my contribution going to be? Can I add a bit of positivity, some lift, a touch of happy or a slice of grin? I can. I should. The gifting face is what we mean to share. The gifting face is what we hope to leave in our wake as we pass through the lives around us.
Even a half-Orc Madball® like me looks better in a grin. Don’t I look like I’m having some secret fun? One glance and you know I stole your cookies. I look like I’m hiding some cool super powers! What is it, do ya think? Do I have ex-ray vision and can see your mis-matched socks? Maybe I’m enjoying some snarky internet meme about b***chy resting faces! Who knows, but you wanna ask now, don’t ya?!
Let’s be real for a moment… I don’t think there’s anything restful about unhappy resting faces. I think we use those faces to shut people out, to insulate ourselves and to hold onto some illusory power: “If I’m going to be unhappy, it’s my decision!” A gifting face opens the wearer up to the people in their lives. It asks for interaction. It affirms. It hopes.
Give it try. Let’s have a smiling contest. Do it until your cheeks hurt! If anyone actually makes eye contact with your gifting face, give them a big double-fisted thumbs up and a “Yeah, baby!” Most of all, have some fun! I dare you. The one thing I know for sure is that someone needs your gifting face, today. Release that gift, let that energy go. Make the world a smile’y’er place! Make them all wonder.
AMDG, Todd “The Round’est Ever Madball®” Thomas