Saturday, April 13, 2024 | Shawwal 3, 1445 H
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When you’re smiling, the world smiles with you

Ray Petersen
Ray Petersen

Most of you, or most of us, don’t laugh enough, and take yourselves, or ourselves, way too seriously. Life challenges us often and without warning, so we should revel in the release that laughter, even smiles, offer us.

I don’t look for laughter, humour, or joy, but I do find them quite often it must be said, and just love to ‘walk on the lighter side’ of life. I often think that many don’t, or don’t often enough! In fact, just a walk down the street is sometimes enough

For instance, in the quaint, and very charming English town of Barnard Castle, I found a sidewalk sandwich board outside a specialty cheese shop, with this wonderful parody of the 90’s classic tune ‘Sweet Dreams Are Made of This,’ by Annie Lennox, of the Eurythmics: “Sweet dreams are made of cheese, Who am I do ‘dis’ a brie? I cheddar the world and the feta cheese.Everybody’s lookin’ for stilton’’.

Honestly, you have gotta smile, whether you’re a ‘cheesy’ kinda person or not. It’s clever. In the same (blue) vein, musical, and I think alluding to Neil Young’s ‘A Horse with No-Name,’ one in America read, “I’m just sayin’ that’s all, you would think at some point on his ride through the desert, he could have given the horse a name couldn’t he?”

And there is philosophy, grains of truth, irony and sarcasm enough to sink a ship. How about this beauty? “Unattended children will be given Espresso and a free kitten.” That’s just simply priceless! Can you imagine? It’s a sort of a threat and a promise all at once, that says “control your kids… Or else!

Pizza joints around the world are fertile ground for imaginative ‘boarding’ too. This one, “Pizza will not CHEAT on you, LIE to you, BETRAY you, STEAL from you, or call you STUPID!” I think that alludes to a frustrated pizzeria worker whose relationship went badly wrong, don’t you? Staying with takeaways, how about. “Buy one burrito for the price of two, and get one free!”

Many focus on those of us with weight issues, but not in a bullying manner I don’t think, as these seem light-hearted.

“You can’t run away from your problems… but it will help if you lose weight.” Or, “Fat people are harder to kidnap! Stay safe by eating plenty, here.” And for the last word on that topic, “Diet books are like science fiction, you get to the end and think, “Yeah, that’s never gonna happen!”

Life, and jobs get a nudge too, with one outside a recruiter’s office reading, “An ironing board is just a surfboard without any ambition or imagination. Surf in and tell us about what you wanna do.”

One that not only bucks modern trends, but again perhaps has more than a grain of truth to it, and an ounce or two of frustration, was this one sighted in Totnes, a remarkable little coastal town in the South of England. “NO WI-FI. Come in, sit down, have a coffee and talk to each other, call your Mum, and pretend you’re back in the ‘good old days,’ when chatting was just that!”

At the other end of the country, in the North East, fish and chips are a ‘must eat,’ usually with battered and deep fried North Sea Cod or Hake, both are just lovely and this sign attracted a few ‘happy snappers:’ Try our Cod’n’Chips, or Scampi’n’Chips. Salad is NOT EVER gonna be comfort food!”

A dose of reality is provided by this one outside a hardware shop. “We all think we are intelligent and smart until we try to use someone else’s shower.”

How true is that? Oh look, I know I’m harking back somewhat, but each of these made me smile, and if one or two have brought a smile to your face, then I won’t feel today was wasted.

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