Mike Dariano


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Smiling Challenge

Recently I shared the benefits of smiling which include living longer, having happier marriages, and being perceived as more likable. These things all sounded great and I wanted to put them to the test, to smile at people and get a smile in return.

My first challenge was our youngest daughter. We were sitting down to a family dinner and she was pouting about either having to eat something she didn't want or not eat something she did want. That's how most of our food discussions at home go - not being served enough food from the marshmallow/chocolate food group. She sat there pouting and instead of explaining to her the virtues of micronutrients and why she couldn't have all the sugar she wanted, I smiled. I talked to the other members of our family and kept smiling - and it worked. Eventually she smiled back and began eating the peas she was refusing. Plus one for the power of smiling.

The next day I was picking her up from preschool and thought I would try to bring a bit of joy to her teacher. Being around 18 four-year-olds cant' be the most relaxing job one could have so she might need some of the endorphins I was inspiring. I waited in the line of parents to collect my daughter and when it was my turn I stepped to the door wearing a big smile like it was an "I Voted Today" button. It worked again! Though she is a cheery teacher and probably smiles alot, she wasn't smiling before I arrived and she was smiling after she met me. I think scientist call this a natural experiment, I'm calling it further proof that I can bring smiles to people. At this point I feel my power building.

Riding this high of success, a thought occurs to me. Maybe I'm playing in the minor leagues. What if my daughter and her plucky teachers are easy smilers. What if they smile all the time and they're already getting the benefits? I need to find people who need these smiles more. Luckily our little town has just the place.

We pull up to Taco Bell as a family the next day. Here I'll test my chops. Only the happiest people are going to be smiling working at Taco Bell during the lunch shift. I worked at Wendys during the lunch shift and the only time I smiled was when I was eating free food. This would be a blank slate attempt. I could safely assume there were no smiles there before me and I could test how many smiles were there when we left.


On Tynan

This week I've been going through the seven plastic boxes of stuff that I've had stored in my dad's garage. I thought I only had two or three, but when it's not stored at your own place, it's easy to lose track. He asked me to consolodate it into fewer boxes, which is a pretty reasonable request for a minimalist.

So I went through it all, and it was an amazing trip back in time. I found old notes, an unopened time capsule from 1993, an MC Hammer casette, and a bunch of other stuff I'd forgotten about. I also found a bunch of stuff from my first girlfriend, Allison.

Allison wasn't the first girl I ever called my girlfriend, but she was my first girlfriend. The first girl I went on dates with, the first girl I loved, and the first girl I slept with. The whole thing should have never really happened, statistically speaking. If we each have a certain amount of luck in dating, then after her I probably should have been single for the rest of my life.

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