Pack up your troubles?and smile, smile, smile By Bob Karolevitz According to a psychologist (whose name I can't recall), there are 18 different kinds of smiles.
Some are sardonic and sarcastic. Some are phoney. There are smiles through the tears, and smiles that reflect just plain happiness.
My dictionary says a smile is a facial expression showing pleasure, amusement, affection, friendliness, irony and derision which � with variations � probably adds up to a dozen and a half.
It seems all the writers of note mentioned smiles. William Shakespeare did in Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost, King Lear and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Edgar Allan Poe, Lords Tennyson and Byron, Sir Walter Scott, Alexander Pope and Samuel Taylor Coleridge sneaked in a smile or two � often not the happy kind � in their works.
(Actually I included them to make you think I'm well versed in literature.)
Among those 18 different smiles should be included Bret Hart's "sickly smile," Thomas Gray's "social smile" and William Blake's "smile of deceit." Theodore Roethke wrote of "a sidelong pickerel smile" (sort of a fishy one), and Charles Dickens gave Mrs. Fezziwig "one vast substantial smile."
Of course I'm more attuned to less heavy stuff. For instance, Ernest Lawrence Thayer had a smile on Casey's face when he came up to bat on that fateful occasion. And Cole Porter said "you're the smile on the Mona Lisa" in one of his musicals.
A particular favorite of mine was penned by another song scribe (again whose named escapes me) who wrote: "Let a smile be your umbrella on a rainy, rainy day."
Yes, a smile � which they say uses fewer facial muscles than a frown � can be lots of things to lots of people. It can be much more complicated to interpret than you think. One expert said you can tell if a smile is genuine by looking at the upper half of a person's face. It's false if the muscles don't make the eyes crinkle with pleasure.
So beware of the "false alluring smile" which Titus Lucretius warned of in the century before Christ. That's the same smile that big shots use to put down somebody under them. When they do that, the corners of their lips usually are tightened, the professional smile-watchers point out.
Herman Melville � who wrote Moby Dick � said that "a smile is the chosen vehicle of all ambiguities."
He may be right, but I like to think of it as an expression of sheer delight. When a person smiles, it should be a happy event, not a phoney one.
Maybe that's why I especially like the World War I song which George Asaf wrote, and which my dad used to sing:
What's the use of worrying
It never is worthwhile.
So, pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,
And smile, smile, smile.
© 2001 Robert F. Karolevitz