There was a man who lived next to the Grammar School I attended as a child. He always had an odd look on his face that was similar to a constant grimace. Using an old wives tale and a warning to children that many adults used to instill fear, some of the teachers and several mothers told us that he was making faces at someone and his face froze in that expression. I don’t know if modern adults still use that line on their kids, “Be careful or you face may freeze like that forever.” Something tells me that any exaggeration can and will involve the State who will take children away at the slightest infraction of the truth.
Faces can be things of wonder. Though there are two types of people I am always cautious around; those who smile all the time and those who never smile. Either a constant expression or lack there of is telling. I often wonder why some people smile all the time. Are they enlightened? Are they religious nuts? Are they crazy? Are they naturally happy? Did they smile once and their face froze in that expression just like we were warned it would if we made a face at someone?
Equally strange are those who never smile. There was one man in the Adirondacks who was legendary for never smiling. The joke about him was when someone would say, “I actually saw old man Johnson smile ones; a mosquito was biting him at the time.” Sometimes the joke went, “I saw old man Johnson smile once; a cat just got hit by a car.”
Every one of us knows someone who never smiles. We wonder if the person is disagreeable or there is absolutely no joy in their lives that would warrant a smile. We may wonder if they are shy or insecure feeling that a smile would let out too much personal emotion and make them appear vulnerable. Every case is different, but there is one thing that is a major joy and that is when you can bring a smile to the face of someone that never smiles. This, when it can be achieved, is a golden moment. I’ve cracked a few in my life, but never Old Man Johnson. He was hard core.