Wellington Street

In which we take a stroll down a very strange lane.

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Theater 1 "Vous si Gentil"

I went to the theater to see the play “Vous si Gentil.” The last time the production was put on years ago, the main actress went missing. I had hoped it would help me relax, to decompress. Only before the show I was supposed to see the main actress at a local restaurant, only Dahlia never arrived. When she didn't show I got a sick feeling in my stomach, but I tried to ignore it. I went to go see the production, only to see that the main role was being played by a stand in. I got up to leave, hoping someone at the ticket office would have an explanation. Only they stopped me in the main hall. Turns out Dahlia wasn't missing. She had been found dead in her dressing room, the mirror and her neck broken in several places.

The police were investigating and wanted to talk to me, which makes sense since I was supposed to see her. I offered to come to the station, to tell them what information I knew. But they said it wouldn't be needed. As the conversation continued, I began to become more and more uncomfortable, until the truth dawned on me.

The show was continuing that night even with the murder investigation going on. I was at the very least someone who should be cleared of doubt, requiring more extensive questioning. Most of all, I was the only person they seemed to be talking to. I questioned this, but they simply told me that the details of their investigation wasn't something they couldn't reveal. But all of it was clear to me. A woman was dead in her dressing room, and the police didn't even seem to care.

Shortly after the conversation the police left, and the dressing room and the hall leading up to it was made off limits. I was anxious...unable to calm down. I waited till the production was over, and quietly went around, talking to the people involved about the murdered woman. According to the stand in, her involvement as the main actress was something she was prepared for. In fact, it was something she expected.

In the weeks leading up to the opening night, Dahlia began to show signs of fatigue. She seemed fidgety, and would often be observed flinching at any unexplained noise. On several occasions the stand in went to try and talk to her, only to have her refuse to suggest that something was wrong. When she didn't show up for the production without explanation, most assumed that she had simply stayed home.

Smiling Challenge

On Mike Dariano

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.

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