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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cheer Up

There's nothing worse than being told by someone to cheer up when you feel miserable or angry. When a person tells you to smile because it won't hurt you, or because it'll make you feel better, your reaction will probably be like mine. A forced smile and an almost overwhelming desire to tell that person what to do with their cheery disposition and request for a happy face. It's very hard for some people to fake happiness, and I'm one of those people.

Sometimes you feel crappy and you want the world to know about it.Sometimes you have the poops and all you want is to be left alone. And as well intentioned as bubbling words of encouragement might be, they often don't actually help. One person's genuine, heartfelt attempts to cheer another person up, even if motivated by compassion, can have catastrophic consequences.

I read a story about a postman who tried to cheer up one of his customers and it struck me as a "surely there must be more to this story than meets the eye" piece of news. Although not in the cataclysmic consequences category, it does serve as a timely warning to those who wish to cheer others up. Be careful how you attempt to spread your sunshine.

A 52 year old United States postal worker told a woman that he would deliver the mail to her in the nude, to make her laugh. The story doesn't report on whether she laughed at the absurdity of the suggestion or if she encouraged him to do it, or indeed what her reaction was when he did rock up to her office with some letters in his hand but not a shred of clothing covering his body. Does nudity make people laugh? Have you ever seen a naked person in a public place and giggled at the sight? If a person dressed in their birthday suit handed you your mail, how would you react?

Simple gestures often work best for lightening gloomy moods. And personally, I prefer those simple gestures to come from people I know, and in case you're interested, in case you are considering ever trying to cheer me up when I'm in grumpy old man mode, on the outside chance that you might be mulling over more offbeat possibilities, you can rule out nudity.

Also, don't tell me to cheer up. I don't like being told how to feel and I don't think anyone does. Do I sound like I'm in bad mood today?

The mail carrier, by the way, was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious behaviour. I hope the woman he delivered to sent him a note to thank him and try to cheer him up.

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