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Smile and take a look at the bright side of life

Last night, while waiting in line at Sam’s Club to purchase our cartful of colossal first-aid kits and super-sized granola bars, I was unexpectedly reminded of the power of an individual’s attitude. The guy scanning all of our larger-than-life merchandise was cheerful and full of spunk, making the wait much more enjoyable. As he threw 1,000-packs of toilet paper onto the conveyor belt, he threw out witty remarks, causing the entire line to giggle and ultimately relax and enjoy the wait. Heck, this kid was downright perky.

Have you ever met someone sort of like him? Somebody who had “it,” a sparkle in their eye and a spring in their step? And have you ever noticed that this person was, in a sense, magnetic? On the other hand, have you ever run into one of those girls whose lipstick is permanently painted on in a frown and whose personality seems to have been frosted over in the freezer? Ya know, one of those people that you just want to give a box of Midol to and tell them to go eat it? Admit it, you’ve met one and it wasn’t an experience you really want to repeat.

People just plain enjoy being near individuals who are happy and, if I may say so, not nearly enough people possess perk. Imagine how much more fun we would all have going to town or dashing through the grocery store if twice as many people were happy and showed it. And no, I’m not talking about clapping hands and stomping feet here; every now and then I just want to run into an extra person who smiles really big and means it. And why not let that person be you?



Abraham Lincoln once said: “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Being as he was very wise and lived a very long time ago, he is automatically right. Actually, he’s even right by logic alone. Those earlier mentioned people who had “it” don’t know some special secret and they don’t drink too much coffee; they simply enjoy life and take things as they come.

So, the next time that your car breaks down in a parking lot and you’re forced to wait an hour in the pouring rain before a tow truck shows up, instead of crying as you feel inclined to do, why not toss a dollar in the bell ringer’s kettle and make friends with the store clerk sitting on the bench? Be thankful that you have a vehicle and can afford to be towed, as many have no form of transportation.




Or when that home hair-dye kit turns your hair pink instead of that golden blonde that was intended, why not bust out that old “Strawberry Shortcake” T-shirt and take yourself on a nice little trip to the mall? Be thankful that you have hair, as many have lost theirs to illness.

Or when your best friends are late, as usual, and leave you standing in rather inclement weather outside of the movie theater all by yourself looking like a loser for 15 minutes, save yourself the trouble of chewing them out. Be thankful that you have friends to wait for, as some do not.

Or when your parents chase you out the door yelling precautions such as: “Be careful!” “Don’t follow too close!” “None of that speed racer stuff!” Or my all-time favorite, “Watch out for other crazy people!” Don’t get upset. Realize that they worry because it’s their job and they just want you to be safe. Then be thankful that you have parents and a family that cares enough to worry; many are lonely.

Or when you just so happen to completely screw up that chemistry final, after you’re through freaking out at the C you just earned yourself, be thankful that you have the privilege of attending school; many are uneducated.

All in all, the point is that no matter how horrible things may seem, they could always be worse. Therefore, be thankful for what you have, and you will probably find that your attitude improves. To me, the truly happy people aren’t the ones with shiny new cars and big empty houses, but more or less the people with a sense of what really matters.

During the holiday season we all have a greater sense of compassion and caring, but why not spread Christmas cheer throughout the year? It’s really as simple as smiling at someone you pass on the street, volunteering with a local organization, or being courteous when someone least expects it. And, yeah, we’re all gonna be moody from time to time, but remember what your mom always said: “If you keep frowning, your face is going to stick like that … I’m serious.”

Natalie Russell of Grass Valley is a junior at Nevada Union High School.


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