change the world my way do what you can

Random Acts of....

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 Kenny Muzzey

"Smile." This word complemented a happy face I drew on a blank sheet of paper. From there, I taped the paper to a blue plastic wand. I had gotten stuck manning the front desk. “Better make the most of it.” I thought to myself. As I sat there, diligently working away, any individual who passed; I would hold the sign up in the air, waving it back and forth trying to grab their attention. Sure enough, it worked, everyone would smile, some would laugh, and one or two even came and talked with me.

I have been engaging in activities similar to this for over a year now. I was originally calling them "random acts of kindness," but I do not really know if that is fitting, since they are not necessarily kind acts per se. Rather than being kind, my intentions are simple, to make people smile. The reason being that in actuality, our smile can make us feel happy. It is known as the facial feedback hypothesis. To put it simply, your brain is constantly monitoring your body and receives feedback from your face. It goes a little something like this, "Hey, I am smiling. Why am I smiling? Well, I must be happy!"

These feats that I perform, they are my little way of changing the world. It is a way of reminding people that there is still magic out there for those who are willing to look for it. If just one person who is heading down a bad road, been down on their luck, having a bad day, a bad week, whatever, bumps into one of these performances of silliness, and it brings a smile to their face, mission accomplished. Anyone, in general, whom may smile or chuckle at these actions, again, mission accomplished.

Somewhere, I have a notebook; within said notebook is a list of ideas for my actions. Prefacing these enterprises is a list of personal guidelines I drafted up. Examples of which are as follows, nothing illegal, photograph the event, limit monetary expenses (nothing using money, otherwise, no more than two dollars). Following documentation of the event, I may or may not write a little something up explaining my reasons for doing this particular happening, depending on how complicated it is. These guidelines, just a little something I do to make sure I stay within reasonable boundaries with these ideas.

The aforementioned smile sign was just one example of these random acts I pulled off. Another idea, I had taken from a friend of a friend, is very simple, very creative, and something anyone can do. For example, you are out to dinner, the check is on the table, and this night you pay with your card. What comes back? A receipt, you know the one, a place for you to leave a tip and, of course, your signature. I make a point to do a little drawing. Stick figure bands singing some lyrics, an entire farm complete with stick figure animals, Freud giving some silly advice, and finally, my signature.

Lastly, a final example, I printed up an index card, with a quote by Mitch Hedberg, "I like vending machines, because snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at the store, oftentimes I will drop it so that it achieves its maximum flavor potential."  Well if it is not obvious what I had done with this one…. I stuck it to the vending machine in the break room early one morning. Returning a few days later people had left a few notes on it "LOL," a smiley face, and "haha!" I smiled to myself, thinking about how I made someone, somewhere, laugh.

Honestly as of late, I have been slacking on these acts of obscurity. Although, I do make a point to try my hardest to make people smile, no matter who it is, a friend, a client, or a complete stranger. I urge you to do the same thing, as you sit there at the front desk of life, hold up and wave your smile sign at everyone who passes. Making people smile is not hard, and it is a whole lot more satisfying than the alternative.

So, how about it? Look around, it is summer, people are out and about. They are your neighbors grilling out, your friends relaxing at the pool, your family getting together for a feast, or perhaps just an "extra" in the motion picture that is your life. Strive for summer, strive for smiles, and strive to make someone happy simply because you can.

If you decide to follow my advice, or already do silly little things to make people smile, feel free to share them with us at Halfstack Magazine, continue to make people smile. Maybe you can teach us a thing or two. You can post in the comment section following this article. No matter how big or small the act let us know!

~Kenny Muzzey~

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