Smile is a good song; one of K’naan’s best. It advocates plastering a huge smile on your face whenever you feel about as cheerful as a wet rag and not allowing people (stupid enemy haters) to see your pain*. This sounds reasonable when K’naan is spitting verses in that attractive way of his through your earphones, but it doesn’t translate very well in real life.
First, before we continue, quick question to all of you who drink hot beverages on a regular. Do you or do you know anybody who knows how to go about this drinking business without messing up the sides of their cup?
I Bring my cup to my lips, sip, not slurp, gently and still, still a thin line of coffee cuts through the lipstick stain at the top, rolls down and pools in a gross ring on my desk. By the time the coffee has worked its magic and made me fit for human society, I’m too disgusted by the mess to be productive (we all know how easy it is for cubicle workers to get demotivated). Is there a less disgusting way of consuming hot beverages that doesn’t include straws?
Here are 3 ways to deal with your crushing feelings of misery that don’t involve smiling like a clown on gunpoint:
Hold babies: Lucky for me, I have the cutest one in the world at my house so when sorrow and its relatives come to visit, I wave her in the air like I just don’t care and they leave. Bastards. If you don’t have a baby at hand, make one. That’s always fun.
Ride your bicycle over the worst road you can find. If you live in one of those up market pothole-less neighborhoods, come over to Komamboga. Here, we don’t even have the tarmac for potholes. We have upturned caves in the middle of the road. The discomfort you’ll feel during that ride will leave you no room for misery. Ha. Jokes. A bruised butt has never been a way good of solving problems. Find something to distract you from the pointlessness of existence, preferably not a bullet to the head. Good luck.
Go hunting: Its grasshopper season isn’t it? Great! Take every grasshopper sighting as your cue to let the inner hunter/ huntress out. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of an important board meeting. Leave it to the P.R chick to explain your behavior to the client. Isn’t wolokoso P.R’s job description? Take the insect’s presence in the boardroom as a dare, a challenge. If it tries to jump away, jump with it. Keep your mind on the job and not on the likelihood that you’ll be dismissed/ demoted. Pretend not to remember anything when you next see your workmates.
If life is being insanely hurtful and uncomfortable, why not be a little bit unpredictable (not mad) back?
These are only half serious, obviously**, but if you continue smiling while you’re bleeding, glossing problems over by grinning like a drunken hyena and not taking time to acknowledge and deal with the ugliness of your situation, smiling will become just another way to wail and before you know it, you’ll go mad.
* To be fair, the message here is more “don’t wallow, move on, be strong and survive” than “smile like your cheeks have been possessed by demons.