That said, let me talk about one of the many random thoughts that skittered through my head like the white rabbit trying to get to his tea party. I only caught a glimpse but it stuck there like the red dots after the paparazzi assault your eyes with their Nikon Uzis. Not that I have ever been assaulted by numerous people trying to get my picture. Even though I should be famous by now for writing a book. I mean did you notice that I have been adding similes to my writing like Julia Child added butter to her cooking? There I go again! I am a fountain of literary cascades. (metaphor, by the way...book deal...any day now...I can feel it)
This post's idea came to me while watching a dad holding his baby. The baby was reaching up to play with his dad's face like he was some sort of living Mr. Potato Head (Sorry, once you start with the literary devices it's hard to stop) and I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if we could change someone's mood by actually, physically moving their face?" I know, don't worry, Sylvia has already alerted the authorities...but hear me out.
When my own kids used to squeeze my cheeks or push on my nose (last week...we have a very strange family) I would assume a different personality to go with each motion. Partly because I love to have fun, but mostly because the cost of those pull-a-string the-cow goes-moooooo toys were outrageous! Touch my chin, smile. Touch my cheek, blow a raspberry. Touch my forehead, say "Peek a Boo!" You get the idea. And I need to say that I am glad I will finally be famous after Larry King has retired. He would probably think this was some sort of interview technique.
"So Jeff. Says here you do something funny if I touch your
"Ummm, no Larry, I did-past tense-something funny when my babies touched my
"Let me reach over and I think we'll see what happens when I..."
"Larry seriously, don't do it. This is embarrassing for the both of
"Well, when I touched your nose you just frowned and you got kind of red. That doesn't seem very funny at all."
"Can we get Larry's doctor in here to check his medication, please!? Stat!"
So after watching this baby and his dad for a while I thought, Why not? Think of all the useful applications we could have. When you already knew about the surprise party but didn't want to offend the people putting it on, you could pull your eyebrows up and open your mouth wide! When you wanted to spend a little more time studying for the final you could just pry your eyes open and tilt your head back to straight up.
And not just yourself either. If you were having a bad day at work and the boss was enumerating many instances that could have been handled differently you could just reach across the desk and mold him into a happy face and then go out and grab a beer together. Going in for surgery...give your doctor a face of rigid determination and self confidence. Need your teammates to be intimidating on the football field? How about a snarl with a dash of eye of the tiger for good measure. But the most important thing would be the crime rate. Can you say plummet? (that was rhetorical follower number 14...my goodness we can be literal sometimes.)
"This is a stick up!"
"My but we're grumpy today."
"Shut up! Put the money in the bag!!"
"Well let me just reach over and adjust those eyebrows. There you go. Better?"
"I'm sorry ma'am. I just felt so angry but I'm over it now."
"There there. Be on your way. Say hi to your mom for me."
"Ok, I will. Bye."
See! A different face could make all the difference. There are scores of comedians who have known this for a fact. Change a persons face and you can change an outcome. And I can tell you from painful, personal experience (not so much physical but I felt like I had a target on my back at times...and I probably won't be the first person to sign up for the reunion) that if I can make a bully laugh it is harder for them to be mean.
Of course if you take my idea to its logical conclusion you will understand why people who have lived here longer than me (but the gap is getting smaller every day) tend to be considered grumpy. No Muscle Tone! You can pretend their face is play dough all you want. Mold happy, congenial, funloving faces until the cows come home. It won't do any good. The infrastructure needed to hold up a smile is just plain tuckered out. Oh sure, there could be hooks and levers and pulleys to maintain a smile but that would all be just too cumbersome. Much simpler to just embrace curmudgeon-ness. Now if you'll excuse me I need to go tell those darn kids to get off my lawn...and to turn that music down!