That smile, that smile. There is a lot to be said for a smile. Nice to see — some — nicer than others. I just read an article about that act of smiling, though. For years, and years, we have heard that if you smile, even when you are down, angry, sad, you will have feelings of happiness. There was a study several decades ago, which tested this. The findings suggested it was true.
These days, in modern times, another study tested that original supposition. In fact, 76 simultaneous studies were conducted, in various locations, all with the same controls. They found that it didn’t work. Making yourself smile, when you were in an unhappy place, did not make you happy.
This seems right to me. Only because, from my limited experience, it never worked for my psyche. If I was in a place of sadness, and looked in the mirror, forcing a smile — it was just that. Forcing a smile. And behind that toothy grin was still a big lump of melancholy.
I won’t go into the rest of the article, as they are not sure why the original results could not be replicated. But. They weren’t reproduced under any of the trials.
Instead of wondering about the ambiguity of this, I think it is important to bring in the subject of Cheese Toast. Yes, that wonderful, mystical, incredible event called Cheese Toast. It is — by the way — not only an event, it is an phenomenon.
Now, this, could change a sour mood into a happy one, if I’ve ever seen such a thing. The Cheese Toast — quite an affair — always made me a little delirious when I was a child. The circumstances had to be just right. Maybe a rainy day. Perhaps, it seemed like there was nothing to do. Or it could have been that Polly just had a case of the glums. Whatever the catalyst, Mom would get up from where ever she was, walk over to the stove, and turn on the broiler. That, in itself, was the catalyst of anticipation. The very smell of the broiler started spanning out over the kitchen and then through the rest of the rooms of the house. Our oven was not a clean one, so all the lives past, of the things that had been broiled before, came to life and inched their way into our airspace.
The next part of the process was quick. A little skid of aluminum foil, followed by two slice of soft, white bread, topped off with a generous slice of Swiss Cheese. Always Swiss Cheese. It had to be Swiss Cheese.
Mom would open up the over door half way, and slide that foil onto the top shelf of the oven, leaving the door cracked ever so slightly. The oven light stayed on, and we would put our heads together, by the little dirty oven window, and watch the cheese melt to a bubble, with then, to a slightly brown fringe. She would pull them out, place them on the stove top, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
We’d sit at the kitchen table, with our plates of cheese toast, and forks, and devour our instant delicacy. The results of the experiment? It always made me smile.
If I had become a lab coat scientist, I would have conducted my very own Cheese Toast Study, to prove its authentic ability to incite happiness in humans, and of course, the obvious: Lab Rats.
Today is National Cheese Toast Day.
Celebrate, this day. And Smile.
“You can only hold a smile for so long, after that it’s just teeth.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
“It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
“What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?”
― Bertolt Brecht