I have grown suspicious of my smile. It is a broad smile, open, friendly and earnest. But I do wonder if it is sincere.
Mine is the smile of the first born. We, the first born children in our families, share this characteristic: we flash our smile quickly and graciously. It is the legacy of our shared desire to please the adults in our lives. First born children are, for a time, the only children in the room, and it seems to us that job-one in the world will be pleasing these adults. The smile becomes our introduction and our armor. We are good children! Take care of us! Subsequent children usually have older children around, which gives them confidence that the adults will probably not kill or abandon them.
The smile is just part of the life-strategy of first born children. We usually acquire language earlier, because we are the only people in the room who cannot talk. This whole eagerness to please often makes us perform better in school, sometimes even better in life. Sometimes.
I am not an unfriendly man. I smile often, and usually with pure intent. I honestly believe that part of any winning strategy for human happiness must include smiling at each other and being kind and helpful. This much is true.
But I smile at friend and foe alike, and here is the foundation of my uncertainty. I am sure that both smiles appear equally sincere, because I have ample photographic evidence. I know, however, that they are not equally sincere.
Most of the people that I know think that am a carefree, charming man. I only hope that I am never called to harsh judgment for this lie.