The first time you hear the words “you better wipe that smile off your face” does not leave an impression on you. You keep smiling. You know of no other thing to do, because you don’t have any negative resources to draw on. You don’t even know what you’ve done. Maybe it’s happening to somebody else.
By the time the smile has been wiped from your face, you are gingerly frail, but you still know how to fight. You learn to pick your battles. You still naturally grin too much and this matures into a smirk, a little bit because your natural self sees the absurdity in situations, but mostly because you are not prone towards anger, so you laugh naturally, but not so much right now.
The last time that your smile got wiped, you were just trying to respond to a question regarding the differences between the American educational system and the European educational system. You knew you couldn’t do justice to that question, especially with a tough German audience not valuing anecdotal evidence nearly as much as you do anyway, so you smiled and started talking, using yourself as the working example.
You prattled on about how lucky you felt that your parents paid for your undergraduate, how much loan money you took out for your graduate, how many extra jobs you worked during both, and how excited you finally were to pay all of that off...last year. You smile, another hopeful joke.
“I am not asking about you!” you hear thundered back from a frowned face. “Please excuse yourself from the situation and tell me only what I ask for.”
Intrinsically, you abhor your sudden inability to use anecdotal evidence to sway your audience either way. You will never be able to win in this situation, not with your natural abilities. He will never be able to see the best in you, and you, the other way.
You are shortly on a flight back home.
How old does a memory have to be before you can put it to good use?