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A Good Infection

As different colds and flues have swept through our house it got me to thinking about all the illnesses we can get from one another. These infections have a way of starting with a source then spreading rampantly from one individual to next sometimes at an epidemic level. We do all we can to avoid these infections by protecting ourselves through washing hands, disinfecting our homes, and other various ways. But what about the good infections? Are there good infections? I will tell you there are.
As I began my career in sales my father gave me many words of advice. He said put the customer first, respond to the customer within 24 hours, find out something of personal interest for them, but most of all put a smile on their face. My dad had the best smile and his customers loved him. It seemed like great advice and good shoes to walk in so I took the advice to heart. We have all heard that laughter is the best medicine, but I contend that a smile is the best infection.
How often have you seen someone laughing to the point where you start laughing even though you may not know what is funny? When I went into an office I made it a point to smile at everyone I interacted with. Funny how it was always returned with a smile back. Even the people having bad days would smile eventually due to my determination. Sometimes my job was nothing more than coming in and changing their day or being a sounding board for their frustrations. Eventually, I got to hear “it is so nice to see you Jim and your smiling face.” Sometimes one smile can change an atmosphere of a room or a group of people.
My mother-in-law plays a game with my kids that I stole called “don’t you smile.” When my kids are crabby or mad we start staring at them repeating the phrase “don’t you smile” until they do smile which then leads to laughter. I remember a special moment with my son Jake when he gave me perhaps an unintended compliment. I was not myself and had been in the dumps for a while. Jake obviously noticed this and it bothered him. Finally he came to me and said “dad are you okay?” I said yes why. His response was “well you’re the happiest person I know and you seem so sad.” Talk about a wake-up call! In that moment my son made me realize that self-pity is not an endearing quality and nothing in life, even an ALS diagnosis was going to keep me from being who I am. My family deserved better and from that moment on I lived in the moment and the smile returned to my face.
Life is too short and a positive attitude and a warm smile can do wonders if you make it a part of your day. So smile today, smile often, say hello to a stranger and witness for yourself a good infection spread throughout your home, office, or coffee shop. May it be the most contagious infection that spreads in your lives and ultimately our world today.

6 responses to “A Good Infection

  1. Alice ⋅

    Boy Jim you are oh so right … during stressful times the best thing is a smile! Your dad is oh so proud as you continue in his footsteps … adding a smile to everyone’s life that you meet.

  2. Jake Eutizzi ⋅

    Dad this was awsome, you should write a book!

  3. Cheryl Lange ⋅

    Wow Jim … I needed that … thank you!

  4. John ⋅

    Wow, I am sitting across from you at Caribou Coffee right this second. And I am smiling, you make me smile. Love you bro.

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