05-21-1999, 11:31 AM
The aboriginal inhabitants of the Arctic, once known as Eskimos but now known as the Inuit, had a legend of a little imp. Ivory carvings of this little fella can be found, not only in the Canadian Arctic but also in the Siberian Arctic. He is recognizable by his protruding pot belly, his bald pointy-eared head, his toes which are tightly curled in sensual delight, and he always has an almost perfect semi-circular smile - a classic smiley face half circle. It is my understanding that this little imp was credited by the aboriginals with impregnating women with Downs Syndrome children. How else would a primitive culture explain the physical appearance of genetic similarity in Downs Syndrome children born to parents all over their known arctic world? We shall now leap forward to the early nineteen-sixties in Ottawa, Canada. On the Spark's Street Mall, a busy downtown pedestrian street, there was, and still is, a prominent souvenir shop that specializes in authentic native handicrafts. I cannot remember the exact year but I am absolutely certain it was pre-1965. This souvenir shop had a large glass bowl filled with small round metal pins with a granite-like enamel paint coating and perfect hand painted smiley faces. The classic two dots for eyes, the semi-circular closed mouth smile. Due to the high quality of the aboriginal (Indian and Eskimo) art that is sold in the shop it is probably pretty safe to say that these enamel smiley faces were the product of an Arctic aboriginal cottage industry. Smiley faces hand made by artists! It is not too much to imagine that someone from nearby New York city might have been a tourist in Ottawa (a beautiful city) and been inspired to copy this smiley face art. Anyway, enough said. I can't prove the origin of the smiley face but I can contribute to reasonable doubt and prevent all the glory and honor being given to an urban American artist.