Smile…you’re beautiful


Adam meets a stranger in Portland who makes him smile, and carries the man’s story and message to the Internet.



ADAM: Hello, Earthlings. It’s September 10th, 2014. You’re watching Adam the Alien, and today we’re gonna talk about smiling.


Today, after taking a train back to Oregon from my adopted city of Tacoma, Washington, I had some time to kill in Portland, so I decided to go to Powell’s Books. And when I exited, I saw this guy just standing there, holding a sign that said, “Smile…you’re beautiful.”

And I couldn’t help myself; I smiled.

Then I decided to talk to the guy and see what, exactly, his story was.

SIGN MAN: My name’s Shanahan O’Grady [spelling uncertain]. I’m trying to make people smile. It’s not enough going around, so I thought I’d be infectious. You have to be a voyeur sometime, right?

I love smiling, and I love making people smile, ’cause it makes me happy. So…yeah. That’s why I’m doing it.

They have amazing smiles! See? So beautiful!

I’m on holiday from Ireland, and I’m RV-ing it across the United States. And I’m doing this across the United States. That’s my holiday. I make different signs that say the same thing, and at the end of the day I give the sign away to somebody and I go on to the bar. So, yeah. But other than that…I’ve already seen all the sights there is to see, here, so I thought I’d do this for my last day.

[RUBBING SORE SMILING CHEEKS] My cheeks are hurting so bad right now.

I travel three months out of the year, every year, and I’ve been doing it for the past eight years. I’ve been to every continent except for Antarctica. I’ve been to 52 countries. And I’ve done that in most of ’em, actually. So…yeah. It helps me stay young and be happy and make me forget about my sisters.

[TO SOMEONE OFF-CAMERA] You know you are! Yay!

I don’t know how I got this idea, but I thought it was awesome.

[TO SOMEONE OFF-CAMERA] You know it’s true!

ADAM: Now, I have to say, I absolutely love his story and I wish I could’ve talked to him longer to get more details and find out more of who he was and what made him do that.

It occurs to me, of course, that he could’ve been spewing a whole pile of bullshit. He could have been lying to me every second. And honestly, I don’t care.

Because he still gave me a great story. Something inspiring, something uplifting, with a message that Iove: SMILE.

I hang around enough people who spout off completely bullshit stories like that, that I know it could all be fake, but again…does it matter?

Because ultimately, what he gave me is not dependent on whether what he told me was the truth or not.

I like to believe it was the truth. But even if it wasn’t, he still made me smile. And he still gave me a good feeling to take with me for the rest of the day, for the rest of the week, hopefully for the rest of Lord knows how long.

And so I pass his message on to you:

Smile. You’re beautiful.

Until next time, all you beautiful people, I’m Adam the Alien. Fare thee well.

SIGN MAN: Smile, it makes your butt tingle.

ADAM: Okay, thank you.

SIGN MAN: You have a good day.

Writer. Actor. Director. Chalk artist. YouTuber. Nerdfighter. Traveler. Pansexual. Genderfluid. Millennial. Socialist. Living a complex life beyond those words.

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