Quinn Summary – The downside of smiling

Published 9:30 am Sunday, March 6, 2022

by Rix Quinn

     In elementary school, a teacher advised us to “Face the world with a smile.” I discovered that might not be the best plan.

     For instance, if I saw another kid get in trouble for talking, I loved it. I would laugh, the teacher would notice, and suddenly I was the culprit.

     Maybe I always looked like I was about to grin…I don’t remember. But I do recall several instructors looking at me and saying, “Wipe that smile off your face this instant, young man.”

     I was able to do that, of course, because (1) excessive levity might lead to a bad outcome, and (2) if anybody suspected I was becoming a man, they deserved respect.

     By middle school, I could instantly adjust my face from “happy” to “nauseous.” This came in handy whenever I was accused of burping, tossing a spitball, or wiping my hands on somebody’s shirt.

     By high school I could appear enthusiastic or comatose, depending on the situation. As my dramatic skills improved, so did my ratings. I doubt any teacher believed that my sister the beekeeper spilled honey on my homework, because I had no sister. But I generally earned style points.

     When I finally entered the working world, I had mastered a quizzical expression that made my boss wonder if I was actually going to say something brilliant, or sneeze on him.

     And today, as I gingerly move from vibrant middle age to less pleasant decades, I present only one expression to the world. It’s one of confusion.

     Got a question to ask Rix? E-mail him at rix@rixquinn.com.