Years ago my daily walks usually took me through a tiny city park called Tompkins Square, located in the slowly gentrifying but still filthy and smelly Manhattan neighborhood known as the East Village. One time a young guy sitting on a bench asked me for a cigarette. This he did with politeness completely unexpected from a typical Tompkins Square junkie: his hair had not been washed in months, some of his front teeth were missing, and his body was not far from reaching the state of a dessicated mummy. I had about a quarter of a pouch of Drum tobacco with me (enough for about 5 cigarettes), so I gave it all to him since I was only a couple of blocks away from home where there was plenty more. My "generosity" seemed to make the guy quite happy, and, perhaps as a way of showing his gratitude, he suddenly augmented his thanks with a cheerful "Lighten up, man!"
I suppose this parting bit of advice was inspired by my perfectly neutral but decidedly Eastern European facial expression, which most natives perceive as being somewhere between a frown and a scowl. Be that as it may, the thought that kept spinning in my mind for the rest of my walk home was:
Fuck me! I just received some life coaching from a mummified junkie with missing front teeth!