Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Crying Game

At times I worry about my lack of sentimentality. I don't take pictures, save baby things, remember lots of "firsts", or even have the faintest idea where my one highschool yearbook is. I do, however, have the Crying Gene intact, and it is ever ready to respond, sometimes at the oddest thing. Oh sure, it springs to life at the Standards like weddings (even those at which I barely know the bride or groom), really sad movies (Terms of Endearment, Life Is Beautiful), and incredibly happy news (it's not cancer after all; you're having a baby!).

My Crying Gene can also be roused by the following, in no particular order:

1. The scene in the film To Kill a Mockingbird when the verdict is delivered and Rev. Sykes says to Scout, "Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'." All around her in the "Colored Balcony," all the spectators are slowly rising to show their respect. I have seen this film eleventy thousand times, and even in a room full of sophomores, my eyes fill with tears.

2. The lobster bisque at Cabin Club restaurant.

3. The lobster risotto at Brio, which, for a chain restaurant, is darn good.

4. The mussels in pernod butter sauce at Carrabba's, another chain restaurant that does good food.

5. Pretty much 2/3 of Chapter 31 of To Kill a Mockingbird. I had to stop reading it aloud to my classes. The part where Scout turns around and starts to narrate how things look through Boo's eyes on his porch..."and Boo's children needed him"...I just can't get through it.

6. The wordless scene in the 1996 film The Crucible when the camera pans the crowd during the hanging of Rebecca Nurse. It shows her elderly husband in agony, clasping his hands prayerfully among the other self-righteous Puritans. Again, I've watched this movie countless times, over and over again in the same day with classes, and it never fails to move me.

7. Visiting the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. I once had a guard in the Dutch Cupboard approach me as I stood, tears streaming down my face, in front of the Vermeers. "Are you all right, Miss?" he asked me as he touched me gently on the arm. I was completely embarrassed. I had no idea I was crying. I was overwhelmed. I could see the brushstrokes. On one, I could see an actual hair from his brush! Do you know there is a DaVinci there? I almost threw up.

8. The song "One Thing" by Finger Eleven. There's an association with it that I can't explain here, but hearing it prompts an involuntary tearful response.

So...what about your Teary Tendency? What sort of odd things get your waterworks working?


  1. I am right there with you. Commercials really get me, especially that Johnson and Johnson one with the "Guys Night In." Gets me every time.

  2. Oh, and I wish my state turned blue. I hope YOUR state stays that way in 2008.

  3. I never used to be too much of a cryer. Then I got pregnant. Now I cry all the time. Sometimes for absolutely no reason at all or super silly things that I would have never cried over before. The other day I cried when Rodger Federer won a tennis match (I know, I know). And today I cried because I was looking at Micah and thinking about how cute he is :) And I tried sooo hard to cry with dignity as I watched Barack Obama's speech at the DNC (I didn't want Devin to think I'm crazier than he already does). And I ALMOST cried when I saw Sarah Palin make the Hockey Mom/ Pitbull comparison because I was just totally grossed out. Oh I could go on and on...but I have to go watch more tennis. If Serena Williams wins the US Open I will probably cry because I'll be happy to see her win a major title again. If Jelena Jankovic wins, I'll cry because it'll be her first. And the first time is always special. I'm sure to cry tomorrow for Rodger, again, win or lose. God, help me with all this crying!! Oh. And I cry alot when I pray too. Just super emotional these days. Sigh.

  4. Micah is 5 months old. I don't think it's safe to say that it's just my hormones anymore. I'll forever be a cryer.

    I LOVE Carrabba's mussels too. Ate tons of them during my last dinner out before the baby came...yummo!!

  5. When I'm in Lorain County? I know, lame, but I can't in good conscious admit the crying I do when I watch movies or shows that I've seen a million times...

  6. OMG...that scene in To Kill A Mockingbird in the courtroom...just as you said. Such a killer. I love that book so much that our oldest son's middle name is Atticus. Also? Louis Armstrong's song "What a Wonderful World". ("...the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night...") Holy cow...I need a kleenex right now.

  7. No matter how many times I see it, I cry during the final scene of "City of Angels" with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan. I cried the other day when I realized my child is driving me insane. I cry when I hear "Open Up My Heart" by Yolanda Adams. I cry when I think of the mistakes I've made in my life. I cry when the sermon is moving in church. I cry sometimes when I laugh really hard. I also used to cry when I chopped onions until a realized that running cold water over them actually does help a bit!

  8. Last night I indeed cried for Serena's win and today for Federer's. I too cry every time I hear the song mentioned by Tera.

    Gosh. Maybe I am depressed and don't even realize. I'm going to need to go and do some soul searching.

  9. nina--i don't think you're necessarily depressed. you're just sentimental. and easily moved. and if you're breastfeeding, don't discount those hormones!

    tera--oh boy, when i start crying when i laugh too hard, it's bad. i get hysterical and then things really get weird. thankfully, it's been a long time since that's happened.

    al--oh, good for you! i'm so glad you named your son something literary. i wanted to give my second son a literary middle name but got the veto. sigh.

    mikey--well, we both know why your Crying Gene gets overactive when you're in the County. LOL.

    nina--i refuse to believe that it's been FIVE months already. NO WAY. and pregnancy may have forever altered some hormones. i think that can happen.

    shonda little--welcome to the Dept! glad you're here and speaking up. i used to cry buckets at commercials--there were some for AT&T long distance many years back that used to get me every time. also one with a little elderly McDonald's employee in it that I only have the vaguest memory of. as far as the Blue State Issue--the latest polls are absolutely enraging me. The American people cannot be that stupid three times over. What on earth is going on?

  10. The number one tear jerker for me is "The Miracle Worker", when Helen has her hands under the water and the light goes on in her head, and she's no longer alone in the world....that gets me every time.

    That YouTube video of the lion hugging up his people.

    Weddings. Funerals.

    Thinking of my mom's last few months gets me going quite quickly and easily these days.

    Oh, I cried in the theater back in the mid 80s. The movie was The Fly, and I cried when Gina Davis had to shoot Brendlefly. I know. It was sad, wasn't it?

    Erm. There are pretty much a million others. I'm terribly smushy that way. My husband says making me cry is like shooting fish in a barrel. It embarrasses my daughter, so if I'm crying about something TOTALLY lame, I lie and tell her it's allergis. ;)

  11. Anonymous11:01 PM

    Oh yeah, I'm a "sympathy" cryer. When I see someone else choked up or crying, that's it. I'm bawling. Lately the one that's really been getting to me is a song in the movie "Mama Mia". It's the scene where Meryl Streep is helping her daughter get ready for her wedding. I think the song is called Slipping Through My Fingers. My daughter is 21 and finishing her senior year at college. The song is about how fast life goes by and missed opportunities... oh, wait, I have to go get a kleenex. I can't even type about it without choking up!


  12. I can catch 5 minutes of a movie, have no clue what's going on - but if someone dies and at least one character cares- yeah- I'm bawling.

  13. my trail of tears:

    1. when kevin costner says to his dad "dad, do you want to have a catch?" towards the end of field of dreams. ridiculous.

    2. the song BREATHE (2 AM) by anna nalick. dont worry about why.

    3. running. thats it. just running.

    4. any time any of my friends cry. i get all watery. especially if its one of my boys. brutal. i cannot help it. judge as you see fit.

  14. jpd--first of all, go update YOUR blog if you seriously expect me to keep your link up.

    anyway--you know, the chorus of that anna nalick song sometimes makes me a little choky too. and don't EVER presume to tell me not to worry about you. as if. kinda my JOB, you know...

    potu--isn't it funny how you can be flipping through the channels and suddenly just linger on Any Movie like that and get totally sucked in? my husband DETESTS THAT.

    Kathy anonymous--thanks so much for stopping by and chipping in here at the Dept! i'm still kinda in denial/amazement that La Streep even DID "Mama Mia", to tell you the truth. Firth, too. I just Netflixed "The Devil Wears Prada" solely for her performance and she was so wonderfully understated in it. Do NOT tell me that I have to endure an ABBAfest for her, too.

    j.@jj.--I've heard of a TON of people who cried at that part of Jeff Goldblum's The Fly. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! And there's nothin' wrong with being smushy. Obv, it got us some pretty nice hubbies.

  15. Well, I cried when I realized that the long comment I had written didn't get saved here ... ugh, must have missed a verification while multitasking. Sigh.

    Seriously, one more time …

    My husband was in a bad car accident many years ago. Although I did not hear the rescue squad's sirens that winter night, upon occasion when I am home alone in the evening, I will hear sirens and I tear up, remembering that night/time and just imagining what some other family might be facing.

    Any cross word from my son can bring me to tears. (Therefore, the teenage years were really rough. Now that he’s almost 21, things are improving. LOL)

    When I am really angry, my first reaction is often to tear up. I have had to remove myself from work when this situation has happened. (Don’t want to fit the bill of the classic weepy woman.)

    As hokey as it sounds, there are scenes in “It’s A Wonderful Life” that still make me tear up.

    (Certain movies I will never even watch the first time because I know they would wipe me out.)

    There’s that old commercial they show during the holidays where the college-age son, Peter, comes in during the night or early in the morning. He gets the coffee going before the family joyfully discovers him downstairs by the Christmas tree.

    I agree on that Finger Eleven song, Nance. There’s something about it that seems so serious and sad.

    Only a month ago, I visited the National Gallery for the first time in many, many years. I was almost disappointed that I was there with my sister, a friend, and my friend’s 12-year old daughter because I didn’t want to move quickly through all the exhibits. I just wanted to stand and stare at some of my favorite paintings. Like you shared, it’s incredibly moving to actually be looking at those pieces. I felt the same way when touring the Art Institute in Chicago. All that talent and the history the pieces evoke just make one speechless. I doubt that we’ll ever see that type of genius again. I looked at the Vermeer paintings and the other paintings in that section with renewed interest as my husband’s friend from Holland visited us in April. (That was the first time I’d met him. It was fascinating to talk to him and hear about his heritage.)

  16. Nancy8:44 PM

    If you promise not to laugh I will tell you that I have to wear sunglasses to parades in case a Fire Engine comes along or a High School Marching band playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" appears. If I am at the Rose Bowl Parade and the band happens to be from anywhere I have ever been in my entire life, all bets are off. I'm crying, Nance, and that's it.

    I feel tears running down my cheeks when I hear "Pomp and Circumstance" and I think of all the good kids who are not graduating because of an unfortunate homelife.

    I also cried when Lisa died in the Funky Winkerbean Comic Strip. Boy, that was sad.

    And how about them making Bristol Palin,who is five months pregnant, stand on the stage for an hour, under the hot lights, covered with a blanket and holding A 15 pound baby? Tragic! Sure, I teared up.

    The older I get, the worse my affliction gets.Every day more and more things make me cry. If this keeps up and I live long enough, I will probably choke up at card tricks.....

  17. Sentimental occasions, even when they're not my own. I used to get choked up at football games when the crowd would cheer for us (the marching band). Books, movies, and touching newspaper articles often make me cry. I feel like that's pretty normal though.

    Other than that...I'm not sure. I'll let you know if I think of something odd.

  18. First, I want to cry at having to read all those comments about what makes people cry. But for me, I always cry when I hear marching bands and I was never in a band so I'm not sure where this emotion is coming from.

    What really got me recently was a video on YouTube with these British guys and their lion that they raised as a cub, released back to Africa and then went to visit. The reunion of the three sets me off every time!

  19. When I am experiencing PMS, I have been known to cry at radio commercials.

    I almost always tear up when I think about my deceased grandparents. Oh, and the two that I have left and how sometime nearer rather than far-er, they will die as well.

    Also, I tear up when I think about some bloggy people that I know that have been through so much pain, whether it be the loss of a child or the loss of a husband.

    I'm truly a big softie in the middle, with a hard outer shell.

  20. I cried last night watching Greys Anatomy. The statement about how you should wonder how people don't go crazy, not why they do really hit me. That show tends to bring out the waterworks, when it's good.

  21. Steve M.11:14 AM

    In my screenwriting class we watched a scene from Citizen Kane, a movie which I have only seen once with my dad when I was 12 years old, too young to understand it.

    It was the scene where little Charles is a happy child playing in the snow and shouting patriotic slogans, unaware that in his old age, the only part of his life he would truly come to love was the time spent throwing snowballs and riding on dear Rosebud. Even on his deathbed, poor Kane would call upon those innocent days which were now long gone.

    It broke my heart.

  22. steve m.--hi! nice to hear from you. you know, i've never seen Citizen Kane. i'd better add it to my Netflix queue.

    noregrets--welcome back! that show gets tons of chat. i've never seen it. but that quote has me thinking. it's so true.

    gina--i hear you. sometimes people think i'm such a toughie; if they only knew...

    j.--i think j@jj. mentioned this viddy. i'd better go to YT and search it. but i'm NOT GETTING the marching band thing AT ALL. (not judging, mind you, just struggling.)

    jenomena--you, a foodie, and no food experiences make you cry? i'm surprised!

    nancy--you and j. both have the marching band crying gene! holy crap. and i also shed a few during the funky winkerbean Lisa Series.

    shirley--so sorry about the comment getting lost! that sucks!! someday you and i should meet at The Louvre for a good cry. LOL.

  23. V-Grrrl8:20 PM

    The national anthem

    A good sermon

    letters from di

    photos sent by someone i never expected to see or hear from again


    "what was it like" by mary chapin carpenter

    seeing michelangelo's pieta

  24. Halley1:13 AM

    I cry alot, especially after I get home from work some nights. I cry for all the children I take care of who have completely stupid,clueless parents. I cry for families that have to make the decision on whether to keep grandma plugged "into that breathing machine". I really cry when I have a few minutes alone and think what a long way I have come in this lifetime and how fabulous my family is, even my husband with all his imperfections. Now that I think about it, I cry alot, maybe too much? oh well, could be worse.

  25. Paintings by Georges de la Tour and Caillebotte seen in person. The entire Tate Gallery. The baby wipes ad with the toddler and the rubber duckie ("Until we meet again, little duckie"). It's A Wonderful Life: "Teacher says, 'Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.'" Riding up-and-down horses on antique carousels, and all calliope music regardless of where I hear it. Instant sobbing at The Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road," which was the last song I heard leaving the house for seventh grade the day my best friend died--so many years ago you don't want to know. The scene when the evil Wizard takes off in the balloon without Dorothy, and of course the flying monkeys (but the latter is primal fear, not poignancy). Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game." Five for Fighting's "Fifteen" and "Superman." Watching my once incorrigible ADHD son board the bus to sing with the legendary Dave Brubeck at the Library of Congress.

  26. sputnik--hey, there you are! long time, much missed. i'm an admirer of georges de la tour as well. The Penitent Magdalen is a print I've bought as a gift.

    halley--a local DJ is often heard to lament "sometimes the worst thing for a kid is his parents." isn't that sad to think of? i don't blame you for crying. i see it in my job too often as well.

    v-grrrl--i once had a heartbreaking poem written by one of my cw students done in the voice of michelangelo about him creating the pieta. it was incredible. i wish i still had it. i am thankful every day that i have the privilege of working with such talented kids every year.

  27. I'm a huge sap for well-written literature.

    "i carry your heart" by e. e. cummings. It's my favorite poem for no particular reason that I can discern.

    "Be Like That" by 3DoorsDown. Don't worry about the why.

    Saying goodbye to my mom. It gets harder and harder everytime. Sometimes I wonder if it's irrational, or foreshadowing.

    The first time I put my leotard on after my knee injury that lasted way too long, I choked up.

    I know, I know.

  28. Anonymous4:38 AM

    I'm not much of a crier, even through I probably should be, since I'm a completely hopeless romantic and EXTREMELY sentimental.

    A few things, though, in the past year, have gotten me good. They kicked my ass.

    The worst was at the local courthouse... my friend had been arrested for a very serious crime that hundreds of people would swear on the Bible or even standing right there in front of god that he didn't do. He was in a holding cell during preliminary trial and wearing prison garb and handcuffs, and he just looked so scared... that killed me. I was sobbing on my friend's shoulder for like ten minutes after we left.

    The seconds was after graduation, when I went to hug the guy I'd loved for 2 years, knowing that, as we had sort of grown apart, I probably wouldn't see him again. That got me all teary and I was trying to hide it, which was awkward.

    The third was when said guy yelled at me because he was cranky and freaked out and I had been trying to help him.

    The fourth... and this is rather pathetic, was watching One Tree Hill on a fluke, waiting for something else to come on, when Peyton told Brooke (her best friend) that her baby's middle name was Brooke. Idk why that got to me.

    And the fifth was when my best friend and I were freaking out about replacing each other, since I don't transfer up to the university we're going to for another year.


  29. Anonymous--thanks for chipping in here at the Dept. I always welcome new commenters! I hope things turned out all right for your friend at trial. How scary!


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