Right around the turn of the century when people no longer had to wipe their asses with poison sumac or tree bark, when losing a tooth was a monthly occurrence and people were accustomed to being mauled or trampled by large mammals in their sleep. People had not yet learned how to smile for a photograph.
Yes, back in the day, life was hard. Everyone you knew smelled like an Applebees dumpster and potable drinking water hadn’t been invented yet; most people had to strain the horse shit out of their drinking water through their own sock… this was a common practice until the invention of Wild Turkey Bourbon, then it became easier for people to drink something that tasted like horse shit without getting that pesky Cholera in the process. Drinking water was still problematic. It was hard to smile in the olden days, when your clothing felt like the rough side of a dish sponge, when your underwear was made of stapled burlap and your shoes were crafted from the ulcerous hide of some unlucky bison. In the summer your family would eat rotten fruit and meat that smelled like fish. Most grueling winters, your family ate each other.
Back then, the only source of worldly pleasure was found in sexual intercourse, but even this had it’s downside. Candle lit evenings were not yet a symbol of romance but a necessity. Most men and women blew out the candles to avoid seeing the sick mule of a spouse they were about fornicating with. And there in the heavy humid summer air, among a swarm of biting insects the man would enter his partner, she would sigh quietly as not to attract bears but just enough for her partner to get a sterilizing whiff of her mouth that she had not cleaned since ever. Yet another reason to not smile. Then maybe around 1970, I’m not sure of the exact date but regardless, people decided to stop pooping in their own water supply and started thinking of ways to change the color of their teeth from amber to white. A new reason to smile! Humans everywhere started to find ways to prevent wolves from dismembering their children. They began wearing clothes that didn’t cause permanent scarring and shoes that felt better than walking on gravel. Food was no longer the leading cause of death, and sexual intercourse no longer smelled like a hot afternoon in Chinatown! Finally a reason to smile!