Charles Nevin: Don't fake a smile, do slow yourself down

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The Independent Online

Happy Monday. But beware of celebrating the start of the week unless you really mean it, as more revelatory research (thanks, Michigan State University) has discovered that a false smile only makes you miserable. Still, you don't want to upset colleagues and customers, so what to do? Whistling, sadly, is now unfashionable, and in any case often leads to a lot of vibrato and whistling sadly something like "Yesterday". The raised right eyebrow can be enervating and, in the wrong face, a touch intimidating. Winking while simultaneously turning the head is open to misinterpretation. No, I'd go for a regular, emphatic thumbs-up, relieved by the odd punch in the air. Enjoy!

Drivers, it's reported, are slowing down to save fuel in the wake of its rising price. This is a wise move which should be widely copied. Think of the money you would save on cereal if you cut your walking speed. How many fewer novels would you have to buy if you imposed a 30 second pause between pages? Further suggestions for reducing consumption by slowing things down: 1. Try walking backwards on visits to the fridge. 2. Approach the switch in the manner of an Oscar winner and make a speech before turning it on. 3. Wait for a sunny day. 4. Ask a teenager to do it. 5. Involve the Government.

Some ideas require thorough consideration of their implications. One of them is this electric unicycle, capable of 12 mph, that's just been invented by a Chinese pensioner, Li Yunian, from Shanxi Province. It has three smaller wheels which act as stabilisers and control direction, but there remain important issues re pavement and road safety if they are to be imported here: crucially, will juggling be allowed?

Now, this religion question in the coming Census, the one which in 2001 revealed that Jedi Knights were the fourth largest faith body in the country. This time, I'd like to see more support for Neopythagoreans, Albigensians, Bogomils, and, of course, the Siths. The Prince Philip Movement on Vanuatu which worships the Duke of Edinburgh, has much to recommend it, as do those distracted dreamers with an elastic creed-set and a penchant for going rapidly downhill, the Cleggies. Dear me: I almost forgot those firm believers in better, the Independentists.

Happy Monday.