I’ve been struggling with this for a long time because I’ve never been able to truly understand it. I still don’t. But I’ve decided it’s some kind of weird benefit, a decision that came from the reaction of my children, those mongrel dogs, when they caught me wiping tears out of my eyes at Ice Age 2.
Never mind that I cried in Ice Age one, as if that’s not bad enough. No. I was cranking out the juice in the sequel. I am a sad, sad little man and I’ll never be cool. I’ll never be Indiana Jones.
The list of guys who are cooler than me is long enough that it fades off into the distance like some desert highway. Everyone is cooler than me. Everybody’s Steve McQueen.
Take the guy remodeling my house. He can build stuff that doesn’t fall down, he scuba dives in the Caribbean, he goes off to Galena on the weekends to work on his boat, and he beat up three guys last year who were trying to steal his tools. Oh, and he was a Navy rescue swimmer.
Take my buddy Pat Greene (not the gay country singer). Last year he moved to New York for the hell of it, worked for three months as a superluminary in a play in Ashville where they put him up in a luxury apartment, and now he’s going to travel the world in the ground crew for a blimp. He gets a cool flight suit.
Me? Here’s a list of movies and commercials that have reduced me to a blubbering girl man:
• Ice Age
• Ice Age 2
• Over the Hedge
• American Idol when Gina G got voted off and had to sing Smile as her goodbye song and pulled it off with supernatural grace and aplomb.
• The Sylvan Learning center one with the kid with the skateboard? Every time.
• Chicken Little
• Spiderman I and II
• Lord of the Rings I, II, and III
• The hallmark commercial where that kid gives that girl that card.
• Finding Nemo
• Click (This claim is contested as RahRah is admant that I was tearstruck, where Roon is equally adamant that this is the only movie where I didn’t cry. Personally, I have a hard time crying in Adam Sandler movies…)
• Stranger than Fiction (like a busted dike)
Just now while compiling this list, I asked my daughter, Queen-of-All-14-Year-Old-Heartless-Daughters-and-Animé-Superfan, what movies I’ve cried in and she gleefully rattled off more than I could bear then cut herself off and said “basically, any movie where it’s not manly to cry.”
Hallmark commercials? What the hell is wrong with me?
Ok, I cried at my daughter’s play where she had the lead in Annie and did such a FREAKING AMAZING JOB and got several standing ohs and who wouldn’t cry, right? That’s cool. That’s manly. But I didn’t cry when the cat died and my kids were decavitating and flooding the room up to my knees with tears. Me? Dry as a piece of sandpaper.
If it had been a movie, I’d have been soaking my shirt sleeves. But in real life I’m bone dry.
Well, not always. About three months after I retired for a life of leisure, I had some kind of bizarre housewife crying jag which freaked me AND my wife out. I just walked into the kitchen and started weeping. My wife crept into the kitchen like I’d sprouted wings and asked me what was wrong and I remember looking at her with total bafflement and saying “I have no idea!” It was like having a seizure. Apparently this happens a lot—TO WOMEN who retire from the workforce and stay home. My sister told me it had a lot to do with missing the people I’d befriended at my job, like they’d disappeared off the face of the earth—oh and that I was a wussy little girl.
I get those. They make sense. But I opened one of those glurge mails the other day, you know the kind, about some act of angelic kindness that is so hokey and saccharine you actually get diabetes at the end of the letter, that kind of glurge, and I weeped up.
It’s an affliction. My daughter says I have CCB—chronic cry baby syndrome.
But it’s a part of me and I gotta get right with it because believe me, it ain’t going anywhere. And I’m thinking it teaches something to my kids. I don’t know what, but they love it. They can barely pay attention to a movie for all their neck craning to check me for tears. Whatever chemical deficiency causes me to leak so often also causes me to display a kind of genuine tenderness in front of my kids. I mean, it’s funny, they don’t let me forget that, but it’s also real.
So I’ve decided to take it as a kind reverse badge of manliness. I weep openly now. I cry with abandon. Hell, I’m crying right now—you got a problem with that, bub? Huh? Do ya?