there’s a cavity, that’s expanse
has no fill
like telling a waterfall
to be still
impossible is smiling
when presented with deaths
bitter pill


First day back at work and a random stranger,
someone who I had never met,
walks into the store, pretentious, obnoxious and arrogantly barking orders at my co-worker and then once complete, shifts his attention to me.
He looks at me and with that smug look, yellow stained teeth, skin so damaged by the nicotine that hovers around his face all day, says “You should smile mate”.

I was neither frowning, nor upset prior. I was looking off into the atmosphere through the glass window of the store, my contemplating interrupted by someone who didn’t know, wasn’t taught, grew up detached from his conscience, or was just flat out abrasive.
Never mind what kind of a day that I was having, never mind what I had gone through up until that point during the week. Never mind that there was no level of intimacy ever shared between us for him to feel so comfortable wallowing in his new found philosophical philanthropy, he was Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Steven Covey and Napoleon Hill packaged conveniently into a sixty something year old who had never grown up.

Never mind that I had buried my father two days earlier, that I lay his head inside a grave as I stood inside over seven feet of dug earth. Never mind that for two years I had been preparing for that moment and still could not bare the weight of it. Never mind all the hurt, turmoil, fighting, running around, researching, attempts, pleading with my father and others, trying to figure out how I could curb the ill health my father was going through. None of that mattered, or was conceived of by this man who’s ego needed affirmation that it mattered, by all things, telling a stranger to smile.

Our insensitivity has reached an all time high, not that there is anything highly about it. Rather, we’re appallingly insensitive and lowly. By assuming we can throw buzz words and clichés at people and expect them to bend to our demand, respond in the light we ignorantly assume is the only way, disrespecting the myriad of issues the person may be facing.

Next time you tell someone random to smile, cheer up, or relax, stop yourself and consider what they are going through, it may just be way too much for your shoulders to handle, and you may have easily broken under the weight.

I stared are that man, I looked him in the eye, let an air of discomfort wallow in the air and hover around him until he shrunk, I stared him down like I was facing an opponent, I had a thousand things on the tip of my tongue waiting to grate his skin with and punish his ears with, but I smiled, changed my stare into a piercing gaze and said, “You’re right, I should, thank you”, and put on my most fake and mocking smile I could muster.

My co-worker sighed a breath of relief and the customer carried his tail between his legs and walked out.


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