Put a smile on someone’s face.

Here’s something fun/funny – maybe it will make you smile.  But first, let me ask.  Does anybody know where this got started?

Trash talk.  Whose bright idea was trash talk? Do you know?  I don’t.  I’ve thought about it.  I really can’t remember when it got cool to trash talk.  When I grew up, the style was to poke verbal barbs at somebody.  We never thought of it as “trash talk.”  It was just “funning.” Just for fun.  Nothing really meant by it. Nothing really serious – just fun’n.

There was also this thing called “making fun” of somebody.   Not so much fun looking back on it.  Especially when the somebody they’re making fun of was ME.  Can you relate?

And it always goes like that doesn’t it?  I make fun of you today. You’re looking for your chance to one up and make fun of me tomorrow.  “Making fun” of somebody isn’t  that much fun, is it?  Somewhere along the line, the stakes got raised. The making fun thing went to a new level, didn’t it?  Teasing came in. Teasing was (and I suppose still is) trying to “get somebody’s goat.”

How’s that for a blast from the past?  Get somebody’s goat.  Not sure what it means exactly.  It’s before my time, if you can believe it.  I googled it.  It said, “to get somebody down.”  So if you get somebody’s goat, you get them down.  Nice.  Somebody’s idea of fun.

I confess. I’ve done it myself.  Tease somebody, get them down, get me up, and everybody has a hearty laugh.  At somebody’s expense. Meaning it cost them something.  Might have taken the  smile off their face.  Might have made their day hard. Who knows?  It got them down.

Mission accomplished.  Now it’s raised to an artform.  So called— “trash talking.”  The way I get it, you trash talk with the sole aim to hurt somebody.  No shame in it. In fact quite the opposite.  Just trash talk them. Hurt them as bad as you can. You did good.  The better the trash  talk, the worse you hurt them, your score goes up on the trash talk ratings.

Am I right?  The world sure has gotten some things upside down hasn’t it?  Glorify the best trash talking pro-athletes.  We can’t claim complete innocence now, can we?   I can’t.   Better I speak for myself.   A loose tongue they used to call it.  Bottom line, it’s push them down to push me up.  Until the boomerang comes back at me. Then it isn’t so funny after all.

Earlier I said, “Here’s something fun, funny, that might put a smile on your face.  Hasn’t happened yet, has it?  Why? I’ve been emphasizing the negative. I admit.  Isn’t it time for us humans to stop acting like Neanderthals and stop with the trash talk?

Stop with negative talk – Start with positive talk. Stop with put downs – Start with put up’s Stop with disapproval – Start with approval.

It’s hard. We’re so darn good at It. We’ve practiced at it. We’re good.  If you can label it good.  How about we switch it around?  Look for ways to put people up? Compliment them. Appreciate them.   Admire them. Smile at them. Pat ‘em on the back.  Thank them.

Look for something nice to say.  Wouldn’t that be a better idea?  Okay then.

At last…Here’s the part to put a smile on your face, I hope.  (I know it’s corny).   It’s a song out of 1944. I downloaded it from iTunes. (Hum along, because there’s no sound.)

“You got to accentuate the positive, e-lim-i-nate the negative, latch onto the affirmative, and don’t mess with mister in between.

You got to spread joy up to the maximum Bring gloom down to the minimum Have faith, or pandemonium Liable to walk upon the scene.”

Time’s now to end trash talking, teasing, making fun of somebody, isn’t it?  It’s time to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Do you agree?  Time to change the world.  It all begins with the one in the looking glass. It all begins with me.  Right?

I’m willing. How about you?  Will you join me?


*Music written by Harold Arlen lyrics by Johnny Mercer recorded with Pied Pipers and Paul Weston’s Orchestra. October 4, 1944 by Capital Records, Catalog number 180