Picture from "The Library Dragon" by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrations by Michael P. White

"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist.
Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed."
- G. K. Chesterton

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Try Not To Smile

There is a recent trend in young women’s winter hat wear that I’m hoping really takes off – knit hats designed to look like animal heads. Now unlike the bear man in the recent remake of the movie True Grit these hats aren’t made of real animal heads, but they do look realistic enough to make one look twice. Recently, while trudging into the local Walmart one Saturday evening (along with the rest of Noblesville) I happened to spot a young lady in one of these hats. She was a pretty blond with a serious look about her, perhaps worrying about the long list of chores and concerns that the upcoming weekend held for her. Obviously she had forgotten all about the bunny hat pulled haphazardly over her hair. I’m sure she wasn’t aware that the ears flopped magnificently in time with her hurried stride. So intent was she upon her own inner monologue that I doubted she noticed the big grin I directed her way as she passed. That’s a shame.

You see, I firmly believe that in this often dark world we live in, if you can make someone smile, however fleetingly, you have accomplished something truly extraordinary. The bunny girl will never know what a wonderful gift she gave me that Friday night in Walmart. She doesn’t realize that a whole week later all I have to do is bring her image to mind and I’m smiling all over again. On a night like tonight, when my own girl has just left to head back to college and I’m facing a long, lonely winter, I can really use the smile that remembering the bunny girl brings to mind.

So, young women of the 2010s, I say wear your animal hats proudly! You bring joy to young children and menopausal women everywhere. And when your boyfriends or less charitable female friends deride your choice in headwear say “Just look at me, really look at me, and try NOT to smile.”

Bear Man from "True Grit"

My Racoon Girl

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