Das Lächeln ist Ungesund

Don’t Smile Too Much, German Shop Assistants Warned

Are you fucking kidding me?

A German psychologist has warned “professional smilers” such as flight attendants and shop assistants that too much forced smiling can cause stress, depression and even heart problems. It’s unlikely to become a major health issue though — German customer service isn’t renowned for its friendliness.

Emphasis added by me. German shop assistants aren’t that bad, but if you had one that acted like a bubbly perky American clerk, you would think something was wrong. There is nothing unusual about a cashier having an attitude that ranges from dour to surly. I was contemplating this the other day at Rossmann as the cashier threw my change and receipt in roughly my general direction after making my purchase.

I think this whole smiling business might be one of those made-up German afflictions, like a Kreislaufstörung, or Anemophobia (fear of drafts). Germans are always opening and closing windows. On one hand they are scared of the draft (Es zieht! Mach das Fenster zu!) and on the other, they are always lüften-ing the room out (Ach, mein Kreislauf! Mach das Fenster auf!). That’s why German windows are so sturdy and kick-ass. They need to be with all that opening and closing.

If German passengers could open the windows on a Boing 747 mid-flight, they would. I wonder what the other astronauts had to do to keep Hans Schlegel from trying to open the windows in the International Space Station? (Ach komm schon! Nur ein bisschen Luft schnappen!) Well, actually, it looks like he didn’t get his wish. He was sick for one of his scheduled spacewalks.

Schlegel, 56, was diagnosed with an undisclosed illness as the shuttle docked with the space station.

You know what that means. Kreislaufstörung.