Smiles per Gallon 

Day 279 Week 41 Q4  Thursday October 6, 2022

Perhaps you noticed this phrase smiles per gallon which clearly refers to driving, but I wondered if perhaps it could apply to more than that. This thought came when driving this early autumn day while the leaves were beginning to change in my twenty-five-year-old black stick shift manual transmission Miata. This car has no electric windows or retracting roof, or any modern amenities at all. It cost less than any car I have ever owned and, yes, it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

I wondered about the other kinds of fuel equivalent qualities, I regularly burned like personal energy, discipline, motivation and a host of others and concluded perhaps Smiles per Gallon could be a good way to optimize a lot more than conventional driving. What about inventive or creative driving? What about the effort to accomplish results? What about relationships?  Is there any better figure of merit than smiles per gallon, or smiles per hour, or smiles per $, or smiles per you name it?  Maybe a life philosophy could be measured in terms of smiles per whatever you want. 

We are talking about positive emotional relevancy, not sensible rational linear logical relevancy, which may never bring a smile to your face at all. Could adding the single letter S before miles be the simplest answer of all, to the ultimate question asked about the meaning of ”life, the universe and everything” to quote the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? What if the time you spent with the most important person in your life was the time that yielded the most smiles per hour not the one that made you wince the most per hour? What if the profession you worked in was the one that brought the most smiles per hour? What if you set up your entire life to maximize smiles and edited out everything and everyone that failed in that regard?

And what if instead of living to be 100, you only lived to 80 but maximized the smiles? I think it would be worth it, but hey, what do I know? Seriously consider what you are maximizing in life. It is pretty clear that maximizing money or power over, say, relationships is not going to make you happy. Could life be that simple as to be serving toward smiles instead of anything else?  I suppose some people could eat or sex themselves to death which would probably bring more smiles than drinking themselves to death, but you would have stopped smiling long before you expired.

Seriously does life have to be very complex and evaluative? Could you simply look in the mirror and see if you smiled much or little? And then adjust accordingly. What if we did the experiment of simply doing what made us smile the most in the long run? Could that solve most of our problems? I am ready to try the experiment right now, but first, we need some time constant to integrate over.  Is it per second or per hour or per month, or is it over your entire life? Ah, now we are getting somewhere. The longer you integrate over, the better the outcome, I suspect. Having a great childhood and a mediocre middle age, and a declining old age does not seem like the thing to shoot for, although it does seem like perhaps it is the norm.  Who says when childhood ends or when old age begins? Could you be middle-aged for your entire life? Some people most certainly are. And some people were born old, but the ones who are wise seem to smile a lot. Ever seen the Dali Lama?  No? Look him up. How does an old guy in exile whose people were abused by the nasty folks who took over Tibet keep smiling? That is the question, isn’t it? I bet he is maximizing smiles per mile and smiles per everything else too.

It is tempting to give a small smile and move past this but how about a big smile and do to move past it but embrace it? There is a lot to be happy about! Are you starving, freezing or being bombed? None of my friends are that I know of. And I doubt that any of you reading this are either. So what’s the problem? SMILE.

Learn to smile at progress, not only at outcomes. Learn to smile in anticipation, it lasts a lot longer than whatever activity you are contemplating. Does this sound utterly silly and simplistic? Well, it might, but who I the most important person in your life you want to make smile? Your boss, your partner, your kids? Your neighbors, your friends or your goldfish? Guess what, if you are smiling more, they will be too, so start at home and conduct yourself in the manner that makes you smile the most, and if the situations you keep placing yourself in do not produce this result, you are doing the wrong thing.

Just Sayin.