Why I Don't Smile

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3 comments

“Kuya Marck,” some of my younger friends observe, “How come we haven’t seen you smile?”

That’s a pretty good question.  The last time I smiled was during the yearbook pictorial a couple of years back, when the photographer coaxed me for five minutes to break out into what passes for a smile.  I find it very, very difficult to smile, even if they say you use 17 less facial muscles when you do so.  I could, if I wanted to, do my looks a favor and relax 17 muscles in my face.  I could, if I wanted to, break out in a smile for digital cameras and cellphone cameras and webcams all over the world, and post them in every social network site out there.

I could, if I wanted to, smile.  Why should I?

There are those who smile out of impulse, as if the lens of a camera – real or imagined – is the stimulus that triggers the curling of the lips, and the glow in one’s eyes.  There are those who smile out of happiness, that there is something out there that brings a bit of joy to their hearts.  Then there are those who, like me, find it hard to smile at all, because there is nothing to smile about.

When you’re faced with the apprehension of living paycheck to paycheck, you don’t smile.  When you’re faced with medicines to cure whatever ails you to get to work bright and early, you don’t smile.  When you’re faced with the slow-but-sure feeling of frustration every day until you reach your breaking point, you don’t smile.  When you realize that there’s no difference between your passion and what you do for a living, you don’t smile.  When you finally reach your breaking point and realize that there’s nothing else you can do but live for whatever dim glimmer of hope there is in the far future, you don’t smile.

When you’re faced with the reality that a lot of people are worse off than you, you don’t smile.  When you’re faced with the sight of street children sleeping on cardboard boxes at night under overpasses and the shade of office buildings, you don’t smile.  When you realize how many people you pass by on that long commute to and from work, and how many of them would give their left arm to have the job you all-too-often complain about, you don’t smile.  When you realize that there is no abating a crisis that affects everyone, you don’t smile.  When you realize that everyone’s broken and they all live for whatever dim glimmer of hope that there is in the far future, you don’t smile.

There are those who smile out of choice, as if a smile – genuine or feigned – is a way to cope with problems and frustrations and just about everything wrong in the world these days.  There are those who smile because there really isn’t anything else you can do but look at the positives, never mind that people call you a naïve idiot for doing so.  Then there are those who, like me, don’t smile because their eyes betray them; you can’t break out into a grin when your eyes show the world something else.

I could, if I wanted to, smile.  Why should I?

That’s a pretty good question.  I think it was the late great music legend Johnny Cash who vowed never to wear a suit of white until things get brighter.  I suppose I could follow in the same vein, knowing that only until things do get brighter will I ever break out into the happy smile that almost everyone goes about doing these days.  I will only smile when this reality becomes better for all of us to live in; when I can stand on my own two feet, and when no child or old woman will be ignored at busy sidewalks just because they desperately tug at sleeves or stretch their arms for alms’ sake.

And so I reply, “It’s not that I don’t smile… I just need a reason to.”

3 comments on “Why I Don't Smile”

  1. Reply

    Smile, Marck!

    I tagged you at http://tonyocruz.com/?p=949

    • mike
    • July 27, 2008
    Reply

    Makes so much sense. Very well written

  2. Reply

    i’ve had many people tell me about Glutathione. I’ve researched it and have many question on how to get it in your body? can you clarify?

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