Standing around at a Christmas party - fairly hypocritical given that I don’t actually believe in the whole thing, but there was a $1500 bar tab for 40 people so fuck principles I was in - some guy who I barely know any better than exchanging a few hello’s and goodbye’s with bounds up to me completely smashed and goes “Why don’t you ever smile?” “Eh?” I responded, too busy enjoying the annual spectacle of people getting trashed and sleazing onto women that they’d never go near sober. “Every time I see you it looks like you’re about to kill yourself”. Lovely.
And it would have been so much easier to defend my position if it wasn’t such a 100% true statement. Not that everytime he sees me I am about to top myself, or you’d expect I would have gotten it right by now, but I think there’s an entire previously undiscovered faction of humanity who were born with exactly the same sort of deformity as I was. We, the few, the proud suffer from the complete lack of a “middle” expression. Either something amuses you and leads to smiles all round and happy scenes or you look as if you’re about to drop a toaster in the bath. Even when you’re perfectly content but completely unamused it appears like you’re sitting there considering doing over 7/11 with a shotgun. There’s no middle ground, and no half expression. Given the general lack of entertainment on offer in the world this leads to 90% of your life being lived with an expression that suggests you’re having the entire Joy Division back catalogue and Lou Reed’s Berlin piped directly into your brain 24 hours a day. Obviously this leads to people getting the wrong idea and trying to cheer you up. Which, given that you didn’t need cheering up in the first place, makes things worse and leads to you having to talk yourself out of putting obscenely jubilant people in a headlock and punching them repeatedly.
It should be registered as a legitimate medical concern. This is, afterall, the major difference between being photogenic and looking like a cock in every photo ever taken. The beautiful people can fake looking happy no matter how tempted they are to throw a milk crate at the photographer, whereas the rest of us try to look interested and it comes out as if we’re contemplating which bridge to jump off. I was on a television show once, they were narrowing the field down and the floor manager came over and said “Adam, can you try and smile more. Look interested”. I knew I was finished right there - it’s just not natural to sit there with an air-hostess smile plastered on just in case Camera 72 happens to catch a glimpse of you in the corner of the screen. Not surprisingly I was given the arse at a later date. Staring blanky into the distance doesn’t equal ratings as much as peppy freaks bouncing up and down on the spot.
So yes, random drunken man was right and wrong at the same time. There’s nothing I’d love more than to be normal and sit there all day sporting a grin that suggested I’d just sat on something sharp, but it’s got fuck all chance of happening. It’s not a matter of choice, it’s just the way DNA conspired against me and thousands of others to remove the ability to feign enjoyment. Are you one of these people? Stand up and be proud. “One of us! One of us!” etc..
Of course most other people want you to be perky and excited because it takes their minds off their shitty lives for a moment. If you’re happy to be there that must mean everything is alright with the world. Or something. What a trash theory. Another in a long line of farcical things people do without any good reason. So consider this next time you sit opposite somebody on the train and they appear to be having the worst time of their life. Maybe they are, but the chances are good that they’re just not interested anymore. That’s my excuse anyway.
P.S - Once we realised the tab was ludicrously under utilised and there was only another hour to drink we started ordering anything that cost a fortune and things began to become much more interesting. I’d love to stop drinking but I fear I’d never leave the house again.