The Curve that sets Everything Straight

Cheshire Cat artwork by John Tenniel | © The Walt Disney CompanyJust like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, who waits patiently on a branch high up in a tree for an unsuspecting passerby — “Some go this way…Some go that way” — I, too, am grinning from ear to ear, but not in a mischievous way.


Because of A Word in Your Ear’s latest A Word-a-Week Photo Challenge. And, it’s a good one.


Shall we get this “tea party” started?

Forrest Gump at the bus stop | ©Paramount PicturesThe smile — big or small, wide or thin — is easily the most recognized and acceptable facial expression.

Singlehandedly, the smile lights up the world as it conveys to our fellow human beings a sense of compassion and understanding, and very well may be the cornerstone of social interaction. It’s as if the smile is Forest Gump encouraging the planet, from his spot on the bus stop bench, to go on and “have a nice day.”

Maddie highchair smile #3 | ©Tom Palladio ImagesRegardless of language barriers, this singular facial expression can do more in an instant than days, months or even years seated around a United Nations (UN) peace negotiations table — much less a bus stop bench — to present a friendly, warm and sincere means of communication throughout the world.

As the late American comedienne Phyllis Diller once said, “A smile is a curve that has set everything straight.” Come on Ban Ki-moon — Secretary-General of the UN — smile and the whole world will smile with you.

Maddie highchair smile 1 | ©Tom Palladio ImagesWho among us doesn’t enjoy a good smile, given or received? When we smile, it tells everyone around us that, for the moment, we’re happy.

Smiles come in all shapes and sizes, are mostly spontaneous, but sometimes artificially applied.

The laundry list of adjectives to describe the varied types of smiles includes, but is not limited to: sociable, happy, amusing, winning, shy, sunshiny, sincere, seductive, sarcastic, sinister, sweet, welcoming, winsome, carefree, disarming, happy-go-lucky, dazzling, lovely, friendly, devilish, disarming, beaming, glowing, incandescent, and like our buddy the Cheshire Cat, mischevious.

Maddie highchair smile #4 | ©Tom Palladio ImagesThe smile is part of the aging process, too. As American author-humorist Mark Twain rightly observed, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” I’ll drink to that, Samuel Clemens.

We even text with a smile — :=)  🙂  :o)  :]  :3  :c)  :=]  8)  =)  :}  :^)  :っ)  LOL and LMAO — or, drop in an emoticon 🙂 to tell the recipient, “Don’t worry, be happy.

Maddie highchair smile #3 | ©Tom Palladio ImagesWhen we smile, we’re actually reacting in a positive way to someone or some thing. Whether it’s a moment in time, an event, a joke, a scene from a movie or TV program, or even the food on your plate (pizza) or in your hand (ice cream), or the liquid in your drink, your sensors are triggered and out pops a smile that you just can’t suppress.

The smile — the curve that sets everything straight — is the (Cheshire) cat’s meow.

©The Palladian Traveler ©The Palladian Traveler

TPT Borsalino on Cobblestone | ©Tom Palladio Images


Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along the travertine and cobblestone that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches via and Anthology Magazine Ireland.


      1. I was laughing when I typed it. No offence was taken – just enjoying your comment. It was late and I didn’t add the smile. You really do a great job of writing your story to go with your photos. Keep up the good work.


  1. Great piece Tom! Loved the timing of the Tear in the eye with D’s picture – so perfect. M is adorable too! Hope to meet her some day soon 🙂


  2. Ah, Nat King Cole always puts a smile on my face….thank you, a wonderful video and blogpost. That little cutie is the icing on the cake! 8) (I’m trying a new smilie….from your list)


      1. My curve? Hadn’t thought about that….perhaps, I’ll just continue on with my sometimes cheekily humorous commenting on others’ blogposts….often that gets the laugh I’d hoped for! 😉


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