On this morning’s walk I was listening to my iPod when The Steve Miller Band’s Abracadabra came up on the playlist. Without conscious thought, a big smile broke across my face as I listened to the silly lyrics — which are not exactly like poetry. (“Abra, Abracadabra . . . I want to reach out and grab ya.“)
A stranger happened to be walking by in the opposite direction, and when he saw my grin he smiled right back. His reaction, in turn, made my smile a bit wider.
Genuine smiles are contagious. We all know that from personal experience, and scientific studies of the phenomenon prove its existence. Whether it is due to the existence of “mirror neurons” in our brains, or social conditioning, or a combination of factors, humans are programmed to meet a smile with a smile. And when we provoke that expression of delight, and see the face of a loved one turn sunny as a result of our comment or conduct, it is a wonderful thing.
I don’t know if Steve Miller anticipated all of this when he wrote Abracadabra — but he worked a little bit of magic on a New Albany walking path this morning.