She sailed away on a warm sunny day
On the back of a crocodile
“You see,” said she, “he’s as tame as can be.
I’ll ride him down the
The croc winked his eye as she bade them good-bye,
She wearing a big, happy smile.
At the end of the ride, she was inside,
And the smile on the crocodile.
Perhaps if I’d heard that poem as a child, I wouldn’t have fallen prey to Perpetual Smilers, those people whose smiles go on… and on… and on, never varying, never wavering, plastered like cement across their faces, no matter what the occasion – weddings, funerals, and everything in between.
I met my first Perpetual Smiler in fifth grade. Her name was Gretchen, and she had a non-stop smile that lit up a room. Maybe even the sky so I felt blessed that she wanted to be my friend -- my very best friend. “You can tell me anything you want,” she said. “All your secrets are safe with me.”
And because of that smile, I trusted her and told her who killed the rabbit, where it was buried, and who really took the jokers from my parents’ card decks. And you know what she did? Yeah, you know, and I should’ve known better. I do now …but now…now it’s too late!
My next Perpetual Smiler was Meena. She wore a smile so bright it could blind you. It blinded me.
Six months after she joined our corporate staff our previously efficient, effective, and harmonious office was in turmoil. Rumors, back-biting, and whispering campaigns marked Meena’s tenure. Three people quit, two were transferred out of the office (I was one of them), and one poor soul had a nervous breakdown. Through it all, only Meena kept on smiling -- and with good reason. She’d been promoted… to my job.
I should’ve ripped that smile off her face, but I didn’t, and now….now it’s too late!
I must be a slow learner; otherwise, I would’ve been prepared for Jack, who had a smile to charm your pants off. It did mine.
THE BOTTOM WHINE: If you know or meet someone who’s never without a smile, take my advice and run, run as fast as you can and in the opposite direction because no one is happy all the time. The Perpetual Smiler is either crazy, one miserable patootie, or out to get you. Possibly all three.
Carol Mizrahi is the author of "Coming of Age...AGAIN," a novel about four friends of a "certain age" who prove that with a mix of moxie, humor, wisdom, and a weekly mahjongg game, coming of age can happen more than once!