Kevin Holten: Don’t be a citizen of frown town

Kevin Holten: Don’t be a citizen of frown town


Are you a citizen of frown town? I don't mean frown town in terms of a community in North Dakota. I mean frown town in terms of it being a state of mind, an attitude, a point of view or a demeanor.

Of course, it’s important to distinguish between squinting and frowning. I come from a long line of squinters. My dad is a squinter, my grandfathers were squinters, and my son is a very good squinter.

There's nothing wrong with being a squinter. In fact, if it weren't for squinting, actor Clint Eastwood might have been a car salesman in Burbank rather than a leading man in Hollywood.

Mr. Dictionary says that a "squint" is when you are looking at something with your eyes partly closed. And naturally it usually happens when you stare in the direction of the sun, stage lights or when a policeman points his flashlight inside your pulled-over automobile.

Whereas a frown is a displeased or angry look, cousin to a scowl and it usually shows up when you check your mail and all you see are bills. Or when your spouse says that they’ll be ready in 10 minutes and 20 minutes later they aren’t.

When I was in college, my mother would frown when she told me not to frown. She said that continuing to do so would cause wrinkles to form between my eyebrows and once they did it would look like I was frowning all the time. So I stopped but now crow’s feet make me look like I’m squinting all the time.

Of course, frowning is a habit that’s harder to break than smoking, chewing, drinking and texting. Thus, like any severe addiction, it takes practice, preparation, regulation and restraint for you to completely kick it. So don't start.

Still, as a society we tend to subtly deride or mistrust people who smile. You must admit that you consider a smiling stranger to be a bit of a lunatic or someone who is up to something.

Mr. Dictionary says that a smile is a facial expression indicating pleasure, favor or amusement. I say it’s the greatest gift you can give to someone and contagious enough to spread faster than butter on toast, the common cold, Canadian thistle or the coronavirus.

Comedian Phyllis Diller said that a smile is a curve that sets everything straight and confuses an approaching frown.

And, of course, there are very good reasons for you to smile. For example, smiling makes you more attractive, changes your mood, relieves stress, boosts your immune system and lowers your blood pressure.

Plus it releases endorphins, natural pain killers and serotonin. It lifts your face, makes you look younger, more successful and helps you to stay positive.

So in summary, it makes you live longer.

Not only that, but scientists have discovered that your body has to work harder and use more muscles to frown than it does to smile. So why not smile? After all, it’s a whole lot easier.

Then again, there is also that one most important moment in your life. Do you know when that is? It’s when you look at the person you love and they are already smiling back at you.

Kevin Holten is the executive producer of "Special Cowboy Moments" on RFD-TV.


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