"God Bless the Dream, the Dreamer and the Result." 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

For Crying Out Loud, People, Get a Grip

By Bob Rehak

I think my crying mechanism is broken. I can’t seem to get any moisture to stream forth from my eyes. It may be that I’m tapped out at this point in my life, though I don’t think that I’ve cried more than most people. Is it possible that there’s a reservoir of tears in each of us, and I’ve drained mine?

So I looked into it. Tears come from ducts under our upper eyelids. The tears get spread throughout our eyes as we blink. I always thought that tears came from the lower part of my eyes, like a sink overflowing. Oh well, no reason to cry about it. It also turns out that there are 3 types of tears: Basal tears keep the eyes moist and protect them, like when you’re standing at the train in the middle of winter and it’s 30 below with the wind chill. Reflex tears are used to flush out your eyes when they become irritated, like when you’re standing at the train in the middle of winter and it’s 30 below with the wind chill and the son of Joe Camel decides to light up his cigarette, to fill up his lungs with smoke and keep all that fresh winter air out. Emotional tears spill out of our eyes when we’re in physcal pain, when we’re sad, or when we’re distressed.

I’ve got three varieties of tears to choose from, then, but I can’t seem to turn on the ducts, no matter how hard I try. My basal tears are very limited. It takes extremely cold weather to get even a drip. In the summer, my allergies can start to bother me, but my tears hold back like someone’s got a finger in the dike. My nose, on the other hand, can run like one of those desktop waterfalls that are very soothing, unless you’re human and over 40 years old. Then they just give you the urge to go the bathroom every five minutes. I think my basal tears are trying to be macho. They’re not coming out till I hit the Arctic Circle.

My reflex tears have got no reflexes. You could stick a dried spaghetti noodle in my eye, and I will not tear up, I swear. I’d pull out that noodle, drop it in a pot of boiling water, and call it dinner. (I’d also call a lawyer to sue you for sticking a dried spaghetti noodle in my eye – what were you thinking?).

That only leaves my emotional tears as a backup. But those are backed up, apparently, or they don’t exist. I think they must have been surgically removed when I had a hernia operation when I was 15. Because ever since that time, I don’t cry out in pain. When I was 16, I got my middle finger caught between a belt and a pulley on a lawn tractor. My finger spun around the pulley like it was on Satan’s Tilt-A-Whirl. And yet my only reaction was to squeeze that finger as hard as I could till the pain subsided. I let go last month. But I never cried about it. So pain doesn’t trigger any tears for me. I’m like some kind of Vulcan.

Don’t get me wrong, I do get sad. Everyone does, especially us Cubs fans. But I don’t get sad to the point of saturation. When most people get really sad they reach for a Kleenex and cry it out. I silence it out. When I get sad, I don’t speak. I hit the mute button in my mind and lock it down. It’s probably not healthy, I know, but it’s all I know. I try to turn on the sprinklers, but there’s a kink in the hose somewhere.

So my only chance of crying is from distress. I don’t know if I’ve ever been under distress, other than the time that my sister left me alone on a lake after we capsized a sailboat. And the two times that I saw my wife go under the knife for a C-section (seriously, they should have put up a blanket to block out MY view, too). Still, I didn’t cry any of those times. Come to think of it, I can’t even cry tears of joy, since it’s such an oxymoron, and I’m philosophically opposed to all oxymorons.

It’s not like I don’t have empathy for suffering, because I do. If I see someone crying, I will get a heavy heart. Unless I find out that they’re crying because their car got a scratch or someone died on a soap opera. Then I’ll just roll my eyes or laugh. I’m the same way with reality shows like “Survivor”. Contestants will start crying at Tribal Council about how hard it is to vote off this wonderful member of their new “family”. You know, that precious family member they’ve known for all of 16 days.

I just laugh at that. How else did they think they were going to get closer to that $1 million prize? It’s a game, people. Stop your crying. If you really want something to cry about, try sticking a finger in the motor of a lawn tractor.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip. I used to have the same problem. I couldn't cry. But I just tried your idea of sticking my finger in the motor of a lawn tractor and I am now crying my eyes out! One question, do you have any advice as to how to stop crying? .

Anonymous said...

Take your finger out of the motor as soon as you can.

Anonymous said...

My reflexes work overtime. My eyes watered to the point of overflowing just reading this article, and they will do so anytime someone else has something in their eye or is putting contacts in or whatnot. I'm a freak, too; it's all good.

birdfeeder said...

I cried during Wall-e...and Finding Nemo...and of course, no matter how many times I see Dumbo, I cry when they put the Mom in chains...don't even mention Bambi. I think some people got big tanks that are replenished every 24 hours, and others...well, maybe they added too much salt when they put you together. As you said, you don't need to cry to feel, so ...not to worry.