Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yesterday, as I watched Mark McGwire admit something 10 years too late that everyone already knew, I found myself amused at his attempts not to cry. In fact, any time a man is on television or in public, and tries to stop himself from crying, its a humorous event. And no I'm not trying to be mean, but as you watch the steps unfurl before your eyes, you'll find it humorous too.

First there is the point where the person's eyes get real big, as if that will halt the tears in some way. Kids use this same tactic when they are tired, but they don't want their parents to make them go to bed quite yet. It doesn't work for them either. Second, there is the deep breath, and this is when things start to fall apart. Its a foregone conclusion that the tears are coming, but again, the deep breath is used as a buffer of sorts, but it doesn't work. Third, after the deep breath, there is a tendency for the eyes to go downwards, and that leads quickly into step four, which is a fake laugh/smile. This is when things start to get downright sad. In boxing, when a fighter smiles or laughs after getting hit, you know they are really hurt. And in the crying process, when a man starts the pseudo-laugh, you know the opening of the floodgates is not too far behind. After the laugh, you may see more deep breaths, manual eye widening and all that, but eventually the tears come.

I was a victim of this process back in May of 1994. My parents divorce had been final a few months, and my mother had finally gotten her new place up and running. As a result, she decided to have a housewarming party with her closest friends and family, and of course I was there (as were a couple of my boys). At one point during this housewarming, one of my mother's friends started a toast if you will, and everyone went around the room saying nice things about my mother and her triumph over the devastation the divorced caused. No problem there right? wrong..and wrong again.

Every damn body who spoke starting off by saying nice things about my mother, and then downing my father. At first I'm sure it was in the name of female empowerment, but after the 6th and 7th person starting slandering my father, I started to get irate. I know he and my mother had problems, but damn I was standing right there, and I was still very close to him. No one saw my anger festering at all, because if they had, they'd have skipped me when it came for me to talk. But they didn't, so when I was asked to speak, I congratulated my mother on her place and on her triumph and then it began.

I felt my voice quivering as I started to explain to this crowd of 30 or 40 folks that there was no need to slam my father's good name, and he was still my father. Then I took a deep breath, opened my eyes wide, and did the whole fake smile thing hoping that it would slow things down--but it did not. Eventually I started crying (which you never do in front of your boys) and I just left my mother's place altogether. My boys consoled me, and everything was eventually ok, but that was a pretty emotional moment for me.

Wow this went on way too long.


Jazzbrew said...

Best post of the new year.

Janelle said...

Its humorous until you endure it my friend as evidenced so eloquently in this post.

soft and subtle said...

I agree Jazzbrew.... damn