Some say that dogs don’t do it, but dog-lovers know better. Cats certainly do, but with a slyness that betrays sincerity; and chimpanzees, hippopotamuses and elephants. Birds cannot because of the rigidity of their beaks; and squirrels, certainly, with their flitting movements as they run joyfully across lawns and up treetops where nuts galore await their anticipation of delight. But of human beings; we all engage it, but whether with sincerity or to conceal, that is always a question that needs pondering.
The eyes often tell all; as Plato and others have described it in metaphorical terms, the window to one’s soul; and so one may walk about and force upon the watching world the curl around one’s lips, but the vacant stares or the look of pain, the distant eyes that betray the insincerity of the smile will often manifest the anomaly of what the expression means.
Only human beings can portray the opposite of that which is natural. For, with animals (and yes, that includes dogs, as well, despite what the so-called “experts” say) the smile is just that – an expression of the facial features that impresses upon the world that happiness, contentment and a tummy rub (i.e., for dogs) produces the effect that naturally comes about – the smile.
For humans, however, it may be to conceal; of the smile that says to the world, yes, I am happy by all appearances, so leave me alone and allow me to wallow in my own secretive misery. Or, the expression on the face that curls the lips just before the smiling face stabs one in the back. Or, in a group of people where everyone is talking and smiling, you spot across the room the person who is also smiling, but still you wonder, for the eyes don’t quite match the curling expression.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job and position, the smile that conceals is often the one that is worn day in and day out – to conceal the pain, to hide the truth, to cover the anguish.
One cannot be genuine and continue on in life if the inner turmoil does not match the outer reality of life’s living. It may be time to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, if only to have the smile on one’s face return where the genuineness of the expression matches the reality of one’s situation.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire