I didn't plan to post a blog this morning but use my early morning time to read everyone else's blogs. I enjoy catching up on what you all are doing. But I'm about five blogs into it, when I find a short blog by a woman of no importance
BAGMAN: There's no such thing!
(ignoring and continuing) and the blog had pictures of Paul Newman, Ben Stiller, and Woody Harrelson sort of crying. Wanting, of course, to leave a cute little comment, I began to think of my own pretty vast experience with not crying and, as usual, digressions began to pour from my eyes.
I suppose, as a kid, I tried to be tough. I emulated the Lone Ranger and Gene Autrey and Superman and Flash Gordon. (But then again, the Lone Ranger wore a mask, so how would you know?)
My grandmother told me that they worried about me when I was six and my mother died because I didn't cry. She says I just sat for a couple of weeks with a blank stare.
Hmm. A line for a poem sometime? "Tears seared in by burning of the heart..."
I don't want to admit this, but I guess I did buy into the Big Boys Don't Cry myth to some extent in my early adult years. At least my goal in life was to be Earnest Hemingway and I'm not sure I can imagine Hemingway crying. Well, I can now. But I couldn't then.
But being basically a sensitive, intelligent man, I confronted the idea of crying more honestly...probably in my late twenties or early thirties. But by then I had confused my wiring pretty well and found it very difficult. In college I gave up on another career goal of being a movie star when heard an actor talking about his he can cry on cue. I could learn to sing, dance, and do dangerous stunts but didn't think I could learn to cry on cue.
Over the years, I have bemoaned the fact that I am lousy at crying. Good at bemoaning, however.
I've studied in depth and there are an infinite reasons or stimuli for crying.
BUTLER: Don't exaggerate! You have only thought about it for five minutes after reading the unimportant lady's blog, for crying out loud!
BAGMAN: Cheap pun.
Okay and, off the cuff, I can only think of a couple of reasons: (1) physical pain and (2) emotional pain.
Physical pain is easy. Well, not easy to endure, just easy to explain. Sudden pain like when Karen tossed me a can of chili last night when I wasn't looking and it hit me in the...(insert your favorite euphemism for male reproductive organs), brings tears immediately to the eyes and might cause crying although for me it more likely causes a loud, intense, and embarrassing series of bad words. Pain that comes on more slowly and grows in strength could cause crying although for me it usually induces moaning (as opposed to bemoaning) and unattractive whining.
Emotional pain is the real kicker for men. Fortunately it usually occurs in the dark of movie theaters at the end of romantic movies. Personally, I think it is caused more by a reaction to the musical score since I once had the same emotional reaction at the end of a movie after sleeping through all but the last five minutes. This kind of crying starts swelling in the chest that feels like some kind of emotional gas that needs to be released through the eyes and mouth. Like trying to supress a sneeze.
Which leads, of course, to a digression question: Why do women have the same problem with sneezing that men have with crying? It drives me crazy to see a woman swell all up, take a deep breath, roll up her eyes, and then "explode" with a polite little "tsst." When I sneeze, I want the neighbors to hear it!
BAGMAN: "Okay, Gabby, wrap it up!"
Now that I am mature and secure enough with my manhood to be comfortable with crying, I'm still untrained and unskilled at it. Part of this is the fact that being able to cry is important to me and I think too much about it. Consequently, when something causes emotions to well up inside me and my heart is aching and a tear seeps out and a sob begins to work its way up my throat. On cue, immediately, my over-active thoughts leap into action and say, "Hey! You're about to cry! Don't hold it back! Is it really a cry? Is it more than one sob? Two sobs? Three?" And standing like either an observant scientist or a hopeful cheerleader, I completely lose touch with whatever emotion had started the process. And, once again, I left tearless, standing like a big dumb big boy not crying.
Hmm...maybe a title for the seared tear poem..."Big Boy Not Crying."