It’s Friday afternoon at the time of this writing, and perhaps you’ve had a bad week; Or, you had a stellar week; Perhaps you just had a so-so week. Regardless of how your week went, it’s still Friday, and that means the weekend is almost here. Today, October 7, also happens to be World Smile Day®. Call it kismet if you want to, but its placement on this specific day of the week is purposeful.
The creator of the world famous yellow smiley face, Harvey Ball, was a commercial artist from Worcester, Mass. Unfortunately, ever since Ball came up with the iconic image in 1963, he grew increasingly concerned with the overuse of the symbol in the marketplace for financial gain. He was worried the original meaning and intent of his smily face had been lost to the exigencies of capitalism. To be honest, we worry about that all the time, even when we don’t need to.
But World Smile Day® was born out of that angst about the over-use of his legendary smile. Ball thought all of us should devote at least one day to performing acts of kindness that might induce a smile on someone else’s face. A simple smile is free of the often petty squabbles that separate us as human beings, and World Smile Day is meant to bring people all over the world together in the name of happiness.
Regardless of ethnicity, religion, sex, geography, politics or anything else that can be used to separate and divide, everyone needs to smile. So Ball said the first Friday in October would henceforth be World Smile Day. The first one was held in 1999 and has continued to grow each year from where it originated in Harvey’s hometown.
Harvey died in 2001, but World Smile Day lives on, and the NBA was more than happy to share their smiles to celebrate.