The second most common question asked of me by my daughters, ages 20 and 15, — and I’m paraphrasing here — is: “Why don’t you have the common decency to leave the room when you have to fart?”
The answer is if I left the room every time I had to fart I’d never be in the room and despite the odor and commotion they’d miss me so I just let ‘er rip.
The first most common question is, “Why are you always crying?”
The answer is more complicated.
It’s true. Hardly a day goes by when something doesn’t happen that leads to at least a mild weep.
I’ve pondered it a lot, always with a hanky close at hand, and I believe the main reason is I feel my humanity more deeply than most.
I feel about my fellow humans the way some maniacs feel about their favorite professional football team.
They desperately want them to win and are devastated when they lose. They hinge their emotions on the results of 45 or so multi-millionaire strangers.
I feel that way about 7.8 billion earthlings.
You’re one if them!
I want you to succeed. It makes me happy to hear you got a promotion, that your car passed inspection or that the spouse was feeling extra frisky last night.
Conversely, I feel genuinely sad to learn you’re feeling over-worked or that your buck-toothed kid needs pricey braces.
Those sentiments are understandable for any caring person. But my empathies go way beyond that.
I’ve been devastated by the news of the Surfside condo collapse and the cataclysmic European flooding. People dying makes me very sad.
But so does people living. Many of us are living way too long. I’m friends with several people whose parents are being tortured by the curses of longevity.
Songs, both happy and sad, can start the waterworks. I heard Eric Bogle’s “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda,” about a doomed WWI soldier’s experiences at Gallipoli, in 1915 site of some of the worst slaughter in the blood-drenched history of war.
Of course I cry over that one. Many do.
But how many cry over one of the most buoyant and joyful tunes in the history of recorded music?
How many cry over “Our House?” The bouncy 1970 CSNY hit asserts the songwriter’s house is a “very, very, very fine house.”
I’m sensitive to the homeless problems here and around the world and I know there are millions of people who’ll never know the security of having a stout roof overhead and won’t enjoy the soulful bliss exhibited in the 2 minutes and 59 seconds it takes to listen to that dandy ditty.
I cry that Tom Petty’s dead and Dick Cheney isn’t.
I cry at the beginning of Pixar’s “Up” and at the end of Paul Newman’s “Cool Hand Luke.”
I cry because I believe climate change is real and has the potential to kill us all.
I cry because I believe we mismanaged this pandemic and the next one has the potential to kill us all.
The stories in the newspapers all discourage, as does the fact that newspapers are disappearing right along with the bees, polar ice caps and any evidence of rational thought among large segments of the voting public.
Understand, not all these tears are tears of sadness. I cry for reasons of paternal pride, sweet nostalgia or if I drop a hammer on my foot.
I contend it’s not surprising I cry; what’s surprising is that I ever stop crying.
I figure I’m composed of at least 80 percent tears so they’re right there near the surface. I’m like a teacup full of tears. Any little jiggle will cause some to spill into the saucer.
So my sassy daughters are learning from me it’s okay for a man to cry.
See the other 20 percent of my composition is mostly bourbon.
The presence of the former explains the need for the latter.
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