It was a good day today... workwise anyway. Sheri went to Michigan yesterday to be with her hospitalized father. We expect him to make a near full recovery, he's a tough old bird... but it's going to take some time. Your prayers for him and his family sure would be appreciated.
Sam, Donnie, Bob and I had a really productive day at the remodel job and we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had dinner with my folks and a couple of missionaries and then we got another round of heavy rain, and roads turned into rivers in a matter of minutes. It made for an eventful ride back home. I'm about ready for the rains to stop for a while... we could all use the break.
Something kind of neat happened when I got home that brought back some really cool and strong memories.
In the summer after I had turned sixteen, I took my first real job at an amusement park in Houston called "Astroworld", across the street from the Houston Astrodome. Even though I only worked there that one summer, the experience left a few impressions on me that I carry to this day. I remember the smells of the park, hot dogs, cotton candy, and the like. I always loved the sounds of people having a good time, something I could appreciate even at that young age.
I remember all the games where I used to work. My favorite at first was the softball toss into bushel baskets because that was one where people could figure out how to win after a few usually unsuccessful attempts. I liked it when I got to hand out the huge stuffed animals... even when it was to socially inept braggarts who liked to appear superior to their girlfriends and look down their noses at me.
Then I worked for a while in the Penny Arcade, which needs a little explaining. The building was a long narrow structure and shaped like a horse shoe. There were doors on either end facing each other, and there was a door in the middle, also facing the inside of the "horse shoe." The games in the arcade were primitive by today's standards... mostly pinball and a few pong types. My friend, Scott, and I liked to work each end of the arcade and stick the new guy at the middle door. We got away with this because we had "seniority." We did this for two reasons. The middle guy was more visible, making him work harder than the other two. The second reason was so we could look out into the center of the "horse shoe" area.
What we were intent on looking at was the "Boogie Fog Disco" complete with a flashing colored lights dance floor and a fog machine in the middle of it. Scott and I had a really good view of the entire dance floor, while the guy in the middle only got to see the back of the DJ booth. You should have seen the characters that came out after dark to dance. Sheeeeesh... If I never see that much polyester in one place again, I'll die a happy man. The whole thing was really a sight to behold... and Scott and I positioned ourselves to oversee the festivities every chance we got.
One night though, I was working in another game booth. The game was some kind of river with plastic ducks floating around and around. The object was to pick one of the few ducks that had "winner" stamped on the bottom... purely a guessing game. Not too many people liked that game and that was ok with me... I could still see the dance floor from where I was.
As the end park hours approached, the DJ at the Boogie Fog Disco started winding things down and then played a certain song that he played every night at closing time. The song was "Goodnight Sweetheart" by The Spaniels. That's the same song that Ted Danson, Tom Selleck, and Steve Guttenburg sang to the little baby girl in "Three Men and a Baby." You've heard it, I'm sure... "Good night Sweetheart, well it's time to go... doo doo doo doo doo" The "Doo doo doo" part was in a very deep bass voice. Remember it now?
Anyway, that song started playing to signal the end of the dancing for the night, and for some bizarre reason, the first time the "doo doo doo" part came up, I stuck my head around the wall separating my floating ducks booth from the booth next to me, and sang "doo doo doo doo doo" in the deepest voice I could muster to the girl working there. Like I said, bizarre... especially when you consider the fact that I didn't really know her and I was extremely shy at that point in my life. Not just a little bashful, mind you... but painfully so. And not only that, I was sixteen years old… how deep could my voice have been? To this day I don't know what possessed me to do such a goofy thing.
But the first time I did it, she smiled at me... and I was gone. I couldn't remember ever seeing a smile like that before in my life. So, of course, I leaned around the wall and sang "doo doo doo doo doo" in my best Barry White voice every time that part of the song came around again and she smiled bigger and bigger at each idiotic performance. I don't remember much else about this girl, but she had long hair and I think it was blond, but I can't be sure. I don't remember her facial features either, but that smile of hers is etched into my memory banks forever. I'm not even sure if I ever knew her name and as chance would have it, I never had the opportunity to work next to her again. Probably a good thing too, given my apparent uncontrolled bouts of absurdity. I wondered for a while though, what kind of real conversation we might have struck up if given the chance and if I hadn't been such a dweeb around girls.
I feel the need to be really clear about this... every smile is a good smile, and certainly always better than a frown. I enjoy gazing upon any smile every chance I get... but have you ever seen a smile that literally brightens up a room when it's flashed? That's what that Astroworld girl's smile was like. I see them every now and then, and I never cease to marvel at the beauty of them. Most are on girls, but some are on guys too.
Smiles are indeed blessings that we've been given by our Heavenly Father to share with each other. Some people have great hair (sigh), some have beautiful eyes and facial features (sigh again), and some are blessed with certain talents and abilities, but the smile that illuminates everything and everyone within sight is something wondrous to behold. It brightens my soul every time I'm fortunate enough to spot such a phenomenon. It might be because they are kinda few and far between. I know that I personally don't have a smile like that. Good thing too... I'd probably just stay home and look at it in the mirror all day.
So why am I writing about this?
Because something happened today that made me think of Astroworld Girl’s smile, and I had cause to think about smiling in general. Do you know why smiling is so important? Let me share something that I found...
From Mark Stibich, Ph.D.
Top 10 Reasons to Smile
1. Smiling makes us attractive - We are drawn to people who smile. There is an attraction factor. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what is so good. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away -- but a smile draws them in.
2. Smiling Changes Our Mood - Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There's a good chance you mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.
3. Smiling is Contagious - When someone is smiling they lighten up the room, change the moods of others, and make things happier. A smiling person brings happiness with them. Smile lots and you will draw people to you.
4. Smiling Relieves Stress - Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced and you'll be better able to take action.
5. Smiling Boosts Your Immune System - Smiling helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves possibly because you are more relaxed. Prevent the flu and colds by smiling.
6. Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure - When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home. Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference?
7. Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin - Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good. Smiling is a natural drug.
8. Smiling Lifts the Face and Makes You Look Younger - The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don't go for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day -- you'll look younger and feel better.
9. Smiling Makes You Seem Successful - Smiling people appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to be approached. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and people will react to you differently.
10. Smiling Helps You Stay Positive - Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It's hard. When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that "Life is Good!" Stay away from depression, stress and worry by smiling.
Because I responded to an invitation today, I was privileged to see and learn some wonderful things about some awesome people that I know. I also got to see one of those smiles again. Someone I knew a few years ago and haven't seen for a while. I always enjoyed seeing that smile and I'm thrilled to be able to view it again, even if only in pictures. Thanks for that.
Frown and you frown alone, but smile and the whole world smiles with you. Now I can't speak for the whole world, but it sure does make me smile and brightens up my day.
So keep on smilin'.
Until next time...