Some people always have a calm look on their face, even if they are not smiling, they somehow manage not to be frowning. Things don’t really work that way for the concentrator…which is what I am. Concentrators tend to have a frown on their face, so people might think they are mad, when in fact, they are not. They might not have even noticed that anyone is looking at them, much less smiling at them. At least not until that person says something to them or writes them a note saying, of all things, “You really should smile!” For the concentrator, there is really no bigger insult. Maybe the person who said it, meant no harm, but if they thought about it, there are much nicer ways to get someone to smile.
In fact, the other day, while I was driving down second street in Casper, Wyoming, I saw a young man walking down the street. It was not a warm day, and the young man was bundled up in a coat and hat, but even with the distinct chill, to put it mildly, the young man has a smile on his face as he walked along. He wasn’t on the phone, or walking with someone else, and he wasn’t talking, so I could see no specific reason for the smile on his face.
I wondered what he was thinking about that would put a smile on his face. It didn’t matter really, because I smiled instinctively, because he was smiling. It didn’t matter what he was smiling about, his smile made me smile. It was sort of like the movie, Pay It Forward, except with smiles. I though about what a nice young man he might be, but whether I was right or not, didn’t make any difference. His smile told a tale all its own. A tale of Smiling it forward. It sounds silly, but that is what that young man did. His smile brought a smile to my face, and perhaps my smile brought a smile to the face of someone else, and so on…smiling it forward.
While going through our parents things the other day, we came across a note that I had written to my parents. The note, I don’t recall writing, but the event surrounding the need for the note, will be forever, vividly burned into my memory files. In fact, every time I think about it, and the possible outcome of that event, I cringe. It was no one’s fault really, it was just two intertwined moments that collided in a terrifying way. And I know that my parents reacted, as every parent would have to a potentially deadly situation. They yelled, and I was the target of their yelling. Looking back now, I totally understand why they yelled at me. It was because the whole thing scared them really badly, but had they known the facts that they couldn’t have known at that time, they might have reacted differently. I suppose that was why I wrote the letter. It just seemed very important to me to explain the full details, which they had missed. I felt like they needed to know that I wasn’t such a horribly mean person, who would do such a horrific thing.
I suppose I am getting ahead of myself here, so I’ll fill in the blanks for you. It was Christmas time, and around our family, that was one of the most special times of the year. We all loved Christmas. We loved everything from the shopping to the decorations. Which brings me to the whole problem. We not only loved the decorations, but we all felt like the Christmas lights needed to be turned on as much as possible. On this particular day, it was me who decided to turn on the Christmas lights, although it could have been anyone who found themselves in this unfortunate position. Our lights were plugged into an outlet that allowed us to simply flip a switch by the front door to turn on the Christmas lights on both tree and window. It required no crawling under the tree or behind the furniture to get to the outlet. Just flip the switch by the door. So that was what I did.
It was a totally normal thing to do, but the seconds that followed were anything but normal. Suddenly there was a flash, a sizzling sound, screaming, and a rush of activity. The lights were switched off, but the screaming continued. Unbeknownst to me, my older sister, Cheryl had decided at that very moment to stick her finger into one of the colored light bulbs that had somehow been broken, and as I flipped the switch, her finger proceeded to get a significant zap. I had no way of knowing she was sitting there behind the curtains, in front of the window, touching that light, and she had no way of knowing that I would pick that exact moment to turn on the lights. Nevertheless, that was exactly what happened.
I suppose that if it hadn’t been such a serious situation, my parents would have realized that I would never have purposely tried to electrocute my sister, whom I loved dearly, but in that moment who could think clearly. It happened, I flipped the switch, therefore, I got yelled at. As a parent, I know they were more scared than anything, but as a kid, I felt unjustifiably blamed. I guess I didn’t want to risk getting yelled at again, so I wrote the note to tell them that I really hadn’t done it on purpose. As I said, I don’t remember writing the note, and in looking at the spelling, I can tell you can tell I was pretty young, but I will never forget the moment when I almost electrocuted my sister, and I thank God that she was alright.