pearly whites

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i’d like to think that buddy the elf has taught me a lot over the years.

i mean, for one, i am now well aware of the four food groups: candy, candy corn, candy canes, and syrup (i, like elves, also try to stick to these food groups).

i have learned that francisco is just fun to say (fran-SIS-co).

that if you press all of the buttons in an elevator, it’ll light up like a christmas tree.

and perhaps my most favorite piece of gleaned information:

smiling. it was his favorite.

turns out, it’s mine, too.

about a month ago, my boyfriend and i took a stroll along the swami’s strand. as we walked along, he took note of the number of happy glances that seemed to come my way. both men and women, young and old. “seriously?” he questioned,“do you know any of them?”

i chuckled as i answered, “nope, not a one.”

“then why are they acting so friendly to you?”

“because i smiled at them first.”

because i smiled at them first. it was simple as that. like a yawn or the flu virus, a smile is contagious. you smile at someone and they’ll be hard pressed to stifle a face crack right back.

you see, a smile initiates, it radiates, and it penetrates. initiates reciprocation (heck, even conversation), radiates a joy inside of you that cannot help but be spread to all who bear witness, and has the power to penetrate even the eeyore-iest of days.

and the fabulous thing? it doesn’t cost a thing. and yet it could be the very thing to make a dark soul find a glimmer of light. forget master card, a sudden change in attitude and perspective? now that’s really priceless.

i’d like to think i’ve always been quite expressive with my facials. perhaps it was all of that practice of posing for pictures in my youth, or even throughout my days as a cheerleader in high school. whatever the reason, i’ve always just kind of been a smiley person. i mean, i’m pretty sure my crow’s feet started at around age seven. but i always just figured if you give people the benefit of the doubt, they just may surprise you.

the older i get, the more i realize just how much people carry around with them on a daily basis. and sure, they might also have a really big briefcase filled with files and papers that weighs a pound of five, but i’m speaking metaphors here (shocker). what i mean to say is that we are a broken broken world. oftentimes, the faces i encounter on walks like the one my guy and i took that spring afternoon, seem downtrodden and despondent. more often than not, i truly believe they aren’t even aware that their emotions are so clearly displayed on their face. so in an effort to spread a little love their way, i flash them a big toothy grin.

and nine times out of ten, it warrants a direct reciprocate response. and for that one lone ranger who can’t seem to muster up enough cheek strength to turn that frown upside down, well, i just remember buddy the elf.

i like smiling, smiling’s my favorite.

and when something is your favorite, it doesn’t really matter what the response.

because it brings you enough joy for the both of you.

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