“Cheer up! It’s only a book!”

… so sayeth the man who smelled of booze last night, as I got off the train… no doubt referring to my look of intense concentration as I tackled the fascinating and complex scientific concepts in Stephen Baxter’s Time

… to which a substantial part of me wanted to respond with… well… no response at all… or at most, with a barely perceptible flicker of…

O you lager-reeking Philistine who doth not understand that this expression on my face is not the result of my being miserable, certainly not on account of the book I am reading, but is, in fact, the external representation of the deeply poignant thoughts that are presently swirling and whirling through the synapses of my far superior brain…

… but in fact what I ended up doing was smiling at the chap, out of some primal fear of being seen by anyone at all – even a man who smelled of booze, who I would probably never see again, or if I did, it would only ever be in passing – as being unhappy. Because God forbid if anyone – anyone – thought I was unhappy.

So what’s this all about?

Why do I care, in the slightest, whether or not random strangers think I am happy?

Is it a primal thing? Is it something I can’t control? Is it down to a deep-seated genetic urge to always seem happy and, by extension, confident, powerful, strong and a fine and healthy example of my species?

Should I not feel bad about not being able to proffer to this drunkard a look of patronising disdain?

Hmm, perhaps I have answered my own question…



2 comments on ““Cheer up! It’s only a book!”

  1. RubyShooZ says:

    Well, another post another quote which is:

    “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

    I think you did the right thing – a smile is one of the best things we can do at times.

    There is a site that will send you smilie face cards and urges people to do good deeds for others but I’ll be darned if I can find a link to the site. I know I’ve got their address because they’ve sent me some (20) and some of the stories I read there about people giving them out just made me cry at the goodness of people and how happy the receivers were. A sort of “Pay it forward” thing.

    Back to your post – I’m not sure how you answered your own question – was it a realization it doesn’t matter how we look, what mask we may be wearing but that it’s okay to let it down and just be ourselves.

    Does that mean uttering the the little flickerings we have? Of course not. What it means to me is that in all honesty, I think deep down we do care but are sometimes afraid to show it becaue it could open us up, make us vulnerable and it can be seen as taking a risk but if we don’t, we miss out on much of what might have been wonderful experiences.

    I say this because I’ve experienced those very same feelings, thoughts and reactions and I’ve let down the masks for the most part I think and it *has* changed me, changed how others react and rippled to who knows where.

    I hope this comment is taken in the spirit offered. In, with love. It might have been confusing but I’ve had a hard time with words in the past several months and I do hope I haven’t just bloviated here. 🙂

    Peace today.

  2. pepsoid says:

    If you do recall that website, Ruby, I’d be very interested to see it! Similarly may I point you in the direction of the following?…


    And the associated Facebook group…


    (are you on Facebook, perchance?)

    I suppose what I meant when I said I answered my own question, was that I realised it perhaps isn’t healthy to want to proffer a look of patronising disdain to someone… a “drunkard” or otherwise! It is, however (I believe), healthy to recognise, explore and purge one’s darker urges…

    Finally, of course I accept your comment in the spirit it is offered, Rube… whether or not you feel you are having a hard time with words, the love and positive intentions always shine through! 🙂

    Happiness & flapjacks…


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