Are you a crier?
Not a crybaby or a whiner, but someone who can’t slap those sandbags down fast enough to stave off a flash flood of salty, frothy rapids?
As kids, most of us cried frequently. Tears were our brains’ natural reaction to pain, both emotional and physical. As six-year-olds, when we fell off our sting rays and asphalt-raked our hip and knee after attempting to ride cross-armed, we sat awkwardly beneath our bikes, our heads slowly pointed to the skies, mouths gaping into a yawning grin of agony. Eye contact with Mom meant unbridled throes of anguish, while exposure only to peers resulted in a quiet and private pain management.
And naturally, as grown-ups, we also shed a tear from time to time. Ninety-nine percent of us cry when something is triggered within us which we really can’t control. It just happens.
But that one percent, that superminority of our adult citizenry, seems to tap their emotions to manipulate like a master baker utilizes fondant.
Before every Friday night game, my high school football coach’s lip would begin quivering, his baritone cracking, by the time he’d uttered that fourth cliché comparing a bunch of sixteen-year-olds to American World War II paratroopers. After he’d likened our undersized defensive tackle to some guy who’d swum the English Channel with no arms or legs, Coach had rendered himself incapable of communicating through his spastic, mucus gurgling sobs. Some of my teammates hopped right onto his express bus to Inspirationville, while others felt he probably should have practiced his talk in the bathroom mirror one last time.
And then, there’s Speaker John Boehner of the United States House of Representatives. This guy…wow.
Boehner claims he can’t even speak to a group of school kids without losing it. Whenever he describes his humble beginnings as one of twelve offspring of a bar owner in Ohio, he barely makes it to the third line of the speech before his face twitches, his orange skin reddens and he saltily barks his desire to duck behind the stage to smoke a Pall Mall and gather himself.
What an endearing man he is, no? He’s not afraid to put himself out there, to display his vulnerable side. Oh, except when he’s discussing denying healthcare to women, kids and old people. His face stays a healthy burnt ember for that topic.
But really, the reason I brought up the subject of crying is to talk about…well...me...again.
I consider myself a member of that other ninety-nine percent…the Criers of Noble Repute.
Oh, boy, did I cry this past weekend. It was at a wedding for someone whom I’d never met, among people I didn’t know.
Even before my daughters came along, my emotions had always bubbled quickly to the surface upon watching a bride dancing with her father. Then, after my girls were born, I could barely cope when witnessing this amazing transitional moment in the lives of those two people on the dance floor.
On Saturday night, the bride’s dad wasn’t around.
He lost a battle with pancreatic cancer two years ago, but the bride made sure that his contributions to her life and her affinity for him were incorporated throughout a beautiful ceremony.
As I gazed upon the newlyweds sharing the evening’s first dance, a small lump in my throat developed, and slowly creeped in size from a Russian tea cake to an avocado pit to a tennis ball. Uh oh. Here we go again.
I was ill-prepared for what came next, as the massive obstruction in my windpipe gave way to a gusher of tears.
The groom beckoned his mother onto the floor for the second dance, as did the bride…
with her mom, as well.