Thursday, July 29, 2010

Smile Practice

"Everybody can see my eyes except for me."

Marko - 4 years old

I heard the above quote recently, and I found it to be brilliant, magnificent and thought provoking.  My immediate reaction was that the genius behind this idea must be equal to the likes of Einstein, Newton and Da Vinci.  As it turned out, it was my own son who had said this over dinner.  Were you aware that mental capacity and IQ is always inherited maternally?  Studies have shown that there is no connection whatsoever between a man's brain and his sperm - therefore children's capacity for intelligent thought comes through the mother's genes only.  It's true - look it up.

I'm going to take that profound idea, and take it one step further.  Everybody can see my
 face except for me.  This idea made me start wondering what I look like to other people.  When I look in the mirror I look like a nice person who is pretty darn cute for her age.  But, what Marko said made me realize that I have never seen my actual face - the mirror is a reflection of my face.  Plus, when I look in the mirror, I always know I'm looking, so I make a point of looking nice.  Now, I don't know about you, but I often look at people when they don't know I'm looking - so it would be sensible to think that people look at me when I don't know they're looking.  That means that people are looking at me when I'm not making an effort to look like I'm nice.

You are probably thinking that I am spending way too much time thinking about something so stupid, and you might be right. Before you pass judgment, I think it is finally time for me to reveal some very secret and highly dangerous aspects of my life.  I only hope that, in sharing my story, I will not be putting you into mortal danger.  If you value your life, you may want to stop reading right now and forget you ever heard of The Fat Lazy Soccer Mom.  I won’t blame you.

For those of you willing to take this risk - I am finally ready to confide in you and you alone.  Just please, for both of our sakes, never repeat what I am about to tell you to anyone - not to your spouse, your children, your mother or your closest friend.  Most importantly, for your safety as well as mine, swear you will not breathe a word of this to a very tall limping man who is dressed all in black and has six fingers on one hand.

You see, when I was a
 very young child I witnessed an elusive mafia boss commit a heinous crime. This vicious criminal had been able to evade the great Detective Dave Diamond for over a decade.   Even though I was very young I was the only living person able to give an eyewitness account and a positive I.D.  I testified in court, putting this major mobster behind bars for a sentence of one hundred years.  I was then placed in the witness protection program, hidden for the rest of my life from extremely dangerous Sicilians who want me dead.  I am sure you are all intrigued, but unfortunately I am sworn to secrecy and cannot give you any more details.  In fact, what little I have said here could put me in a great danger. If this gets into the hands of the wrong people - a certain Organized Crime Ring from Chicago could make a major comeback. Still, I felt I needed to tell you this in order for you to understand the rest of my story.

I am sure you have already figured out that it was imperative that no one be allowed to take pictures of me. Because I had single-handedly exposed the Cosa Nostra they, obviously, put out a hit on me.  Pictures of me were worth millions of dollars because they would reveal my whereabouts.  I was taught, therefore, to avoid being photographed at all costs, and, as a last resort, to make a really stupid face if I couldn't avoid a camera.

While a picture is like a mirror in that it is just an image of a face and not a real face - I have never had a picture taken that is a true representation of what others see when they look at me.  The few photos that exist always show me making a really stupid face:

See what I mean?

We members of The Witness Protection Program have no real idea what we look like.  This is just one sad reality that must co-exist with a life of covertness and peril.

I know I am asking too much by putting all of this responsibility on your shoulders - but I'm afraid there's more:

I have never wanted my children to be nervous that bounty hunters might still be after me, so I never told them about my history.  I could never tell my husband because he is too simple minded to be trusted. They only know that I would rather be the one taking the pictures than be the one in the pictures.  That is why I cannot blame my son for taking a series of candid shots of me when I wasn't paying attention.  He was not aware that he was putting all of our lives in danger.

When I saw these pictures - the only undisguised photos of myself in existence - I noticed something very disturbing.  In each and every picture, I am frowning.  Actually, one could even say I was scowling.  Look quickly and carefully - in thirty seconds this image will self-destruct.

Do you see that glower?  In picture after picture I have that malicious, hateful face!  This is the first time in my life that I have seen an image of my face looking how it looks when I don't know anybody is looking!  And I look so mean!  No wonder my husband is afraid of me!

I needed to find out once and for all if this is how I appear in the eyes of others, so I asked my mother if I sometimes frown - and she, in the sweet little voice of an elderly woman, answered "I wouldn't say some of the time, I would say all of the time."

So, now I am making a conscious effort to smile all the time - no matter what. So, if I find a dead animal in my living room, I smile - if my son punches his brother right in the nose, I smile - If my husband wears the same shirt for five consecutive 98 degree days, and the air conditioner is broken, and he does not shower, swim, or wash, I smile.   I am also working at being more conscious of my facial muscles so that I will be instantly aware of my frowning lips.  When I feel the sides of my lips turning down, I automatically bring them up. I figure that if I keep working on it, I will eventually have a permanent smile on my face.  If that doesn't work - there's always Botox.


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