Do I have to?
It’ s taken a good deal of time to develop these frown lines and it seems a shame not to use them. Plus I was kind and conciliatory twice last month and I think I still have credit. Surely it is not necessary to stock up again until December.
I know the Dalai Lama is always kind and cheerful – but then he can afford to be because he doesn’t have to clean his own rifle or pick up his spent brass. People do that for him.
And then there is the problem of the autocorrect mechanism that operates full-time on Facebook and in the universities. Whatever you write is automatically corrected by some random snot-nose somewhere. It doesn’t matter whether you advocate love and toleration or murder and mayhem – you will still be scolded by a sophomore. The only people I know who enjoy it normally spend their Saturday nights tied up in straps being whipped, and if the university prudes get wind of that they will probably stop it.
I will say that I have made the discovery that you can get a great deal more public open space around you on the train by smiling than by frowning. It is a matter of who you smile at, as well as with what intensity and for how long. Surprisingly, a shy little smile held for 10 minutes straight will do more than a wild grin, particularly if you can open your eyes really wide at the same time. I find humming helps.
If you must be nice and gentle, it is a better investment to do so with dogs and cats. They like humming and are more likely to respond in kind. You may not think the average cocker spaniel can do all that much for you but consider whether you want to go swimming in a freezing duck marsh at dawn to recover a brace of mallards or whether you would like your new little friend to do it for you.
You can also score a lot of life points ( and trade them in later for parole points ) by doing random acts of kindness. If you are pushed for time, reduce the kindness and just add a bit more random. A pat on the back goes a long way, particularly if you administer it in the urinals at the pub.
Of course you also have to know how to be gracious when other people are helpful and polite to you. You must look upon everything as a gift – even if some of their gifts remind you of hand-knit sweaters from your Auntie. Remember that no-one is perfect, and that particularly applies to the people you know. After all, if they were perfect, would they associate with you? Cut them a bit of slack if you can – if not just cut the bits of them that you can reach and leave it at that.
In the end we are all the same, though some of the back views of Kim Kardashian might suggest otherwise.