Smile Dammit


I’ve noticed something in recent walkings around of my university and elsewhere. Something that leaves me asking the philosophical, inquisitive question that intelligent minds have asked themselves for years: “What the f**k?…”

I like to hold out hope for my fellow humans, I really do. But sometimes humankind disappoints me like an unathletic son disappoints a father…

…I’m sorry if I struck a chord there. I surely didn’t mean to. I was merely using the example of a boy who isn’t terrific at sports to….I think you get the point..

What I’m saying is that just when I think that there’s goodness in everyone, just when I think that there’s hope, cynicism and doubt riddle me full of bullets like that poor bastard in that one scene of The Godfather.

And if you’ve never seen it I’m pretty sure he gets shot like two hundred times.

Sometimes, on my walk to class or something of the sort, I’ll see some of my fellow humans. Usually these creatures greet me with a smile or a kind word. Naturally, I greet them back with an appropriate response. It’s nice, this exchange of pleasantries. One might call it being polite, or just being a nice, decent person.

Do I know all of these people personally? No, I don’t. But that makes it all the better. Someone who I see around on a regular basis smiles or says “Hello!” That makes me feel good. Like people are actually people and not soulless humanoid demons sent from Satan himself to torment me.

But sometimes, unfortunately, I do experience a humanoid. And unfortunately, this disgusting, subhuman thing ruins it for everyone.

On occasion, while walking along my merry way, happy as a clam, I’ll cross paths with someonething that I know. Again, we may not be bestest friends, but we’re familiar with each other. I go to a small school after all, where everybody knows everybody. There isn’t a face that’s not familiar.

And so, in passing, I look up to make eye contact like most normal people would. I prepare myself to smile, perhaps deliver a verbal greeting.

But as I walk past, as I look these blobs directly in the face, clearly making eye contact, clearly initiating an acknowledgement of existence, I’m ignored. These things walk forward, and stare at the ground as if looking at me will inflict serious bodily harm (which I only wish it did).

These people (and I use that word reluctantly) stare at their feet. They walk past, making no attempt to lift their head, even lift their eyes. They say nothing. They do nothing. And as I walk past, hopes pulverized, I’m not angry or pissed off. I’m not spiteful or enraged.

…I know, it certainly seems that I am. But my flamboyant descriptions are used only to illustrate a point…

I’m not mad, not angry at the world for being ignored. I’m not aggravated or hateful.

I’m sad. Sad that a kind gesture as small as smiling can’t be done by someone I see everyday. Sad that someone can’t take one second to look up and nod their head. Sad that the simplest word in the English language can’t be uttered to a familiar face.

It sucks, really. It makes me feel hopeless. What do we have if we can’t acknowledge other people? What’s left after we walk around ignorant to those around us, blind to everyone we see?

Not a whole hell of a lot.

Of course, there are good people who boost my hope for humanity. Some people do smile and say hello. Some people, as hard as it may seem, take the time to push the corners of their mouths upward. If you’re one of those people, thank you. You make life not entirely terrible.

So, don’t be a complete arse. Don’t ignore people who you see all the time. Don’t act like smiling is going to get you arrested. Acknowledge people. Be nice to people. Be a decent person.

Just say “Hello.” Or maybe “Hey”. “Hola”, perhaps. “Howdy” if you’re feeling saucy.

What you say is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that you say it.

Improve the world. Don’t suck.

Smile dammit.

End Kwote

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