The Living and the Dead Pan
by Will Bailey
Staring contest! You may not realize it, but we are having one, right now. That is because the alien lord that created me decided to make my default facial expression “Humorless Deadpan.” So even though I am not making a conscious effort to stare listlessly into the quantum abyss while you attempt to explain the plot of a movie about a certain wizard, I am, nonetheless, doing so. This is especially detrimental during introductions to strangers, because first impressions are super important (unless you turn out to be criminal mastermind, in which case they don’t hold up so well in court). So even though I am thinking, “Hey, it’s really nice to meet you!” my facial expression is saying, “I don’t like you one, stinking bit!” How unfair is that? It’s like walking around with an offensive tattoo on your face. Except, the tattoo is your face. And it always looks peeved. I’ve also found that my face’s natural emotive stinginess makes it incredibly difficult for me to smile in photographs. I usually wind up looking like my eyelids have been glued open and am trying to tell the photographer, through clenched teeth, that I am being held hostage by the person hugging me. My inability to smile convincingly has gotten so bad that Wife has tried coaching me with tips likes, “Push your tongue against the back of your teeth” and “Don’t smile.” Again, none of this can be attributed to my being an Unhappy Person. Quite the contrary. I’m generally a really upbeat kinda guy. I’ve just been cursed with a face that isn’t so great at looking happy. Thank goodness I’m so handsome!