Friday, September 30, 2016

A Smile

There are several versions of a commercial playing every so often on TV for a dental establishment. In each of the commercials, the speaker and main character is a fire fighter, perhaps a station chief, who talks about his teeth. In one version, he sort of chokes up as he describes his feelings that at one time, he was afraid to smile because he had such poor teeth. In the end, he smiles because his teeth have been fixed. He talks about how confident he is and how much better he feels about himself because of his smile.

When I meet someone for the first time, I notice one’s eyes. Not sure why, but that’s what I notice first. Then I move to one’s smile. I think you can tell a lot by one’s smile, but especially so if there is a connection between one’s eyes and one’s smile.

I think you know what I mean.

There are times when someone smiles that it isn’t a happy smile. Rather, there is sadness. I think the difference between a genuine, happy smile and a sad smile lies in one’s eyes.

Zak Brown has a lyric in one of his songs: “Sometimes I feel like a clown, who can’t wash off his makeup.”

Smokey Robinson sang a song titled, Tears Of A Clown. Later in the song, the lyrics are:
“I'm hurt and I want you to know
But for others I put on a show . . .”

Lonestar sang a song titled, Smile. The chorus has these lyrics:
“I'm gonna smile
'Cause I want to make you happy
Laugh, so you can't see me cry
I'm gonna let you go in style
And even if it kills me
I'm gonna smile.”

Each of these songs seem to say the same thing. A Smile can be a disguise for what we truly feel. A Smile can end up being a mask for what we actually feel.

I know that there are times when I move through the day with A Smile but if someone really knows me, he or she would know that the smile masks what is going on inside of me. Because I work with others, because I am in a public position, there are times when I have to put on a happy face. An act, if you will.

And I know from watching my wife, Kim, and my girls, that they do the same from time to time. We have a dear friend, Jennifer, who lost her father a year or so ago, and while I see pictures of her smiling and because I know her, I know it is makeup, a disguise, a mask. I have colleagues who lost loved ones- spouses, parents, sons or daughters, and when I see them smile, I know.

Got me thinking . . .

How many times does someone walk into our lives wearing makeup, a disguise, a mask? Because I work in a field with kids, I wonder how many of them hide what they are truly feeling: Fear? Sadness? Despair? Loneliness?

It makes it all the more necessary, all the more important to tread lightly when dealing with others, in choosing our words, in watching what we do and how we do it. Because unless we really know who it is we’re dealing with, we might never know if A Smile is a disguise and a mask or if A Smile is real and genuine. Kids . . . and adults . . . can be crafty when it comes to sharing and showing their feelings, their vulnerability. We might never, ever really know. Something to think about . . .

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If you like to read thriller/mystery, check out:
Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.          

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them.          

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
The FBI knows a 14 year old boy has a price on his head, but he and his family don’t. With no leads and with nothing to go on, the FBI gambles and sets up the boy and his family as bait in order to catch three dangerous and desperate men with absolutely nothing to lose.

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11 year old Brett McGovern, and 11 year old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.


  1. Wow, someone else who knows Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.... Wonderful post and very true. Too often we feel the need to "put on a happy face" (as another old song said) when we feel low. At times this is necessary, however, we can benefit from being more observant and notice those whose eyes aren't smiling.

  2. Thanks for you comment, Mary. Yes, I'm eclectic when it comes to music. :) Thank you for your kind words and insight.


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