Mr. Smiley

Portrait of Mr. Smiley in pink face mask and handsome hair style (i.e., the hair style that was prevalent in 1990s Hong Kong pop TV shows and then disappeared for 20 years but somehow has recently found its way back in pop TV shows again :)))  Portrait provided by Didi.

Since the start of the zoom karate classes, Chief Master Ferrari and his staff implemented a really good practice and let blackbelt students assist the instructors during the class. All of a sudden, there were a lot more handsome young gentlemen and beautiful ladies to look at.

All of them were super nice, friendly, and polite, but honestly for a long time I couldn't really tell who was who as I had to focus on Didi. Yet one day, there's this kid who caught my attention in an unexpected way and made me burst into laughter.  That was towards the end of a class when we were doing the sword, and as usual, Mr. Dodgers was showing off his "You know why I look so graceful? Because I started practicing when I was 5!" mind-boggling expertise, with his newly shaved watermelon style head precisely placed right in the middle of the screen.  I often mock at Mr. Dodgers when he shows off but have to admit that I enjoy seeing his performance.

While I was watching attentively, all of a sudden, I lost the view of Mr. Dodgers's shiny head. Instead, that spot was replaced by a kid's face, the lower half covered by medical facemask and the upper half, beyond the eyebrows, covered by a generous, generous amount of fair, which kinda looked like Mr. Dodgers' hair couldn't stand its hostile environment and all migrated to his head for a second. (Sorry about using the word "kid" but at my age, technically, anyone below 35 is a "kid".)

I patiently waited for that kid to leave the projector but somehow he kept standing there and looking at us with a beaming smile on the face and left hand moving up and down in front of his face at regular intervals. That confused me a bit as we were not doing anything specific and a few seconds later, it suddenly dawned on me that he was using the zoom projector screen to checking on his own hair!

With his hand combing hair left and right, he seemed to be quite satisfied with the look and even with the facemask, I could clearly see a "I'm looking good!" expression. It was at that moment that I finally couldn't help laughing out loud, "Excuse me Mr. xxxxxxx, your hair is JUST FINE! Now can you please move out of our view?"  With a quick blush, he woke up from self examination and quickly moved out of zoom.

The blackbelt students have their names printed on the back of their uniforms, so I noticed his first name. Sometimes life is funny. It just happens that his name rhymes with my kids perfectly and his first name is one of the baby boy names that I considered for Didi.

So that's Mr. Smiley, who always shows up on schedule with that beaming smile and carries with a special sense of gentleness. And the most important thing is that you can always feel he's happy. It reminds me how nice it was to be young ---- the age when you still blush naturally at people's jokes and spend a ton of attention on your hair.

Mr. Smiley is the one who will say "Don't you worry ma'am" to ease my embarrassment when Didi doesn't behave and makes sure that Didi gets his turn in group practice, which comes as naturally as smiling.  At an era when individual competitiveness and excellence are so much valued, it takes quite a bit in life to understand and appreciate the importance of empathy, humility, and the spirit of serving others. Apparently, this gentleman gets it at such a young age. 

After all, the best smile is ----- when you can easily laugh at someone, you choose to smile.

I secretly hope that my Didi (actually now, openly hope) can grow up to be somewhat like him in the future and wish Mr. Smiley good luck in all aspects of life! 

P.S. If needed, please feel free to cite anything I said above as validation to support your martial arts or academic pursuits and let me know if you need more (my writing is slightly better than my kicking), sir. Thank  you!