Tag Archives: Smile


Do you like going to the dentist?

Does anyone?


I never know what to do with my eyes at the dentist. Where to look? Not at the dentist, at least not into their eyes (best to let them concentrate).

Where then? Where is the middle distance in a situation like this?

Where indeed.

Some dentists have flat screens mounted to the wall, complete with streaming services. Pick a movie or show of your choice! Stare there, OK? Tune out!

As if. I have yet to deploy that particular option. There are too many choices and I want to be agreeable, pick something we can all enjoy or at least not hate. Besides, why potentially ruin a good show or movie via association? Tricky business, that.

I’m so glad they got rid of the mirror. You know, the one that used to hover above your face so you could watch yourself, immobilized, while a near stranger dug around your exposed teeth and gums with sharp metal instruments you didn’t even know the name of (even if you wanted to know them).

That was a hard sight to see. Hard to avert the eyes from that.

Out of sight, out of mind?


What’s worse is the tongue. What to do with the tongue while the dentist or (more likely) the hygienist in in there poking around with their instruments and fingers and thumbs? The tongue is definitely worse.

To the left? To the right? Up, down, side to side…?

But that’s the thing about tongues.

They are uncouth.


My aunt’s dentist sells Botox and other “injectable fillers.” Not such an odd combination of services, once you stop to think about it.

No free samples there, unfortunately. Not even the customary complimentary toothbrush, travel floss and/or sample toothpaste once your appointment is finished. Nothing of that sort. Just simple professionalism, whatever you come in there for.

Habit breeds expectation, after all. Fix your teeth, rejuvenate your face.

Smile pretty!


If I were a dentist, or ran a dental office, I would deal in teeth and manicures. My office would be called “Tooth and Nail.”

I imagine I would have to turn a lot of people away who come expecting Botox and other “injectable fillers.” I also imagine that some would come expecting a pub of some sort, but in that case would be covered: I would, naturally, locate the office near a good pub, maybe even next door to one that plays live music on Wednesday nights.

I would do it all for them, the people.

At least then they would know where to go; have a good notion of what to do with themselves, given the options, teeth or no teeth, dentist or no.

Really. It would be the least I could do.


Dentists used to be barbers. Or was that the other way around?

But no sense there, you know, in splitting hairs, etc.





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Filed under Body, Family, People, Television

Stranger Encounters

They happen.

At times and in turns unsolicited, unprovoked, utterly unreal.


1. Flower Market, New Delhi

Random Man: “You there! You are at the flower market and you can’t smile?”


2. Dog Park, High Park, Toronto

Dogwalker [runs up to me and Lou]: “Look at him! Him? He’s beautiful. Lovely bone structure. You’re lucky to have him. Congratulations!”


3. Coffee Time, Kitchener

Woman Steps Through Front Door: “Dang, dang! Y’all got none of them there cheese cussiants, do ya?”


4. Beaches, Toronto

City Garbage Worker [jumps off side of moving truck ]: “Hey! [points to truck driver] He’s Filipino!”


5. Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City

Vendor [referring to Stephen]: “He has such a gentle face!”


6. Beaches, Toronto

Random Man [points to Lou]: “Heinz 57! Heinz 57!”


7. Downtown Kitchener

Random Man [blocks my path, bows]: “Ni hao, ni hao, ni hao!”


8. Calgary, Alberta

Random Man [yelling from driver’s side of parked pick up truck as Stephen and I walk down the street]: “Got him walking on the outside of the sidewalk! Good man you got there!”





Filed under Communications, Dogs, People, Places, Plants, Uncategorized

Smiley-Face Joe

There is this one person who I cannot stand and the only tangible I can come up with is “he smiles too much.”  That’s it!

Am I horrible? 

*Postmodern shrug*

I don’t smile that much myself, but I don’t do a lot of Things that other people enjoy and that seem, actually, quite enjoyable.  Like singing.  Or dancing.

Or paragliding.

Smiles light up faces!  They illuminate entire rooms!  They are as contagious as colds and as infectious as syphilis!

They transcend.  

A worthy contender for The Big Book of British Smiles.

"When is a croquet mallet like a billy club?"

Helen of Troy had a face that launched a thousand ships.  Do you think she was smiling?

But this guy. Everything is a smile!  I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye once, and there he stood, staring at us while we talked, not talking, just smiling. Patiently – magnanimously – waiting for us to please to stop talking so that he could once again hear himself talk, with an audience. And a smile.

I can’t help but wonder if – without that smile – whether what he says as he smiles means anything, and if he means it.  But I just can’t get past it!

That smile.

Of course, it’s not just him.  Of course.

It’s me.

I have been told – often, repeatedly – that I need to smile more.  It happens among acquaintances, at customs, in the library.  Once in India.  It happens so much and so often that I’m beginning to think that I may, in fact, be violating some unspoken agreement simply by leaving my face on the wrong setting.

It takes 17,978.523[1] muscles to frown and only 2.5[2] to smile.

Not that I even frown that much, but I suppose when you’re comparing light and dark – that’s it!

That’s the show.

Who is the Mona Lisa without her smile?

Probably just some lady who may or may not be Da Vinci, who never smiled anyway and never got shit for it like I am!

I’ve been told that I’d feel better about Things if I smiled more.  But I’m fine.

As for Smiley-Face Joe.  I think if he didn’t smile – so much or at all – he’d be more than fine.

That smile.

It’s the same but completely different!  Like the way an image, totally reversed, looks identical from the other side.  And suddenly, that happy, beautiful, charming, lovely smile is that self-satisfied, vacant, patronizing, stupid smile.

At least it can be.

Hope for the worst so things turn out better, right?

Turn that frown upside-down.

[1] Rounded down.

[2] Rounded up.

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Filed under Politics