Thursday, September 12, 2013

To Smile. To Really Smile

I don’t suppose I’ve really smiled since 2009 or so.  Or so the photos of me over time indicate.  I’m not going by last week’s Alfred Hitchcock photo.  No, when Phillip took that, I was focused on my stories.

No.  In fact, I thought I looked fine for an aging, fat, bald guy. 

Here’s one, I’m third from the right …

I’m smiling.  It’s a decent smile, but something’s missing.

Compare it to this one taken in 2008…


… and this one of me and my great friends Brent and Michelle taken in 2007.  I’m the one in the beard.

Big difference, don’t you think?

What could cause such a difference over time?

A couple of things, I think.  The minor, easily fixable one was my teeth.  For a long time after those pictures were taken, I was frightened to go to the dentist, because on a simple teeth cleaning …?  Well, let’s just say that it was the first time I’d suspected a dental hygienist of being trained at Guantanamo Bay.  Consequently, my teeth became so stained by tea and red wine that my own medical doctor thought they were rotting.  He believed it until I insisted he examine them a little closer.

He concurred.

Regardless, that he thought ... what he thought ... in the first place humiliated me.

That very day I sought out another dentist/hygienist combination, and have been quite happy with them both, fillings, crown, deep cleaning, and the blessedly gentle routine cleaning included.

It’s been six months now.

So, with clean teeth I looked in the mirror and tried to smile like I did in the above pictures.  I couldn’t make it happen naturally, try though I would.

So I stepped away from the mirror and looked inside.

Took awhile, but I found something lurking in the dark like a black widow spider filling me with a poison aimed not only at my manhood, but my humanity.

I walked through the corridor and found my sense of self in the midst of a horrible, agonizing death.

It showed in my face and through my eyes.  My mouth is starting to be permanently curved downward as though weighed down by something sinister and obscene.  My eyes are beginning to droop, too.

This is not mere age.

A little over a week ago, I decided that this couldn’t continue.  I wouldn’t let it continue.  I would reach down inside and give CPR to my sense of self.

You know from my last post that I recently visited my cousins in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

There, I determined to reclaim myself.  Make myself fit to walk with the rest of humanity again, beginning with my weight.

Sixty more pounds.  That’s what I have to lose.  To that end, I determined to eat healthily, exercise by swimming and walking, and eliminate wine with a couple of predetermined exceptions, until I reach my goal weight.

Today is my tenth day under that program.  I’ve lost five pounds.

The difference between this time and the hundreds of others I’ve tried this is that for the first time I have a weight-loss buddy.  I won’t say who, but we have grimly determined to support each other, and congratulate each other, and cry on each other’s shoulder, and celebrate victories, of which there will be many.

I think this will be the difference maker for me, and I hope to be the difference maker for my buddy.

You see, I’m determined to recapture those smiles of earlier days.  That they come from an older body won’t matter to me.

Only that they come.

I’ll keep everyone posted.


  1. Good luck with your new regime, I'm sure your smile will come back very soon.

  2. I love you. And your smile. Sending you tons of "smiling" vibes.
    Miss you.

  3. Congratulations, Rocky, and GOOD LUCK!!!!!


I love your comments. Please leave them.