This story doesn’t begin with a cliched “once upon a time.” Our protagonist is neither a prince or a hero. If he has a claim to any notoriety, it is in his mere survival only. He exists. Whether or not one celebrates this remains in the eyes of that beholder. The protagonist will tell you his life is not what he intended. Unlucky in love, illnesses also wrack his body. Yet, he seems cheerful enough. Therein is the mystery, and the only reason anyone would even dare read about him.
How can he still smile as his arthritic spine slowly hunches his stocky frame? Would one in that situation not, instead, shake an impotent fist at the sky and curse being born? Maybe those thoughts do exist but find no escape from his lips. Mindful of what happened to Job when he spoke, he does not want to hear the input of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. He is amazed by the hubris of the Mercutio, speaking of those things unknown. Else, people always have a salve or an oil or a word that will magically make all of those problems disappear. And sometimes that is the profitable side gig they would interest you in making money when you complain of rough straits.
The smile comes from a place simultaneously facilitating and impeding progress in his life: His mind. Things go well when he obeys Providence but sour when he retreats into fantasy within his mind since he prefers that place to the real world. A therapist told him his smile was out of place. It showed when he expressed pain. Yet, the smile is why people love him. Even if inappropriate, a “fake” smile will efficiently pump endorphins into the brain as a real one. His mother taught him that. She learned that trick in her own life.
Yet, he has hope. As obvious as a statement it may be, he is alive until he dies. Hence, the day has its duty and responsibility mixed with a touch of frivolity. So as long as his eyes open, he will put one foot before the other. And he will smile. He thanks you for finding inspiration in his adversity coping skills, but hopes he can give something better to admire one day. The sooner that happens, the better for him it will be.