Popular enough, on Facebook and other social networking sites, are those questionnaires that reveal categorical details about who you are, by insight into certain categories-favorite food, best movie you ever saw, and so on.
I am going to propose one I have never seen, which doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, and as is only fair, I will be the one to start the ball rolling. Things that make you cry.
I will start the ball because my sense of masculinity is such that revealing that tears occasionally overtake me is not a problem for me. So here goes, prompted by an exercise I recently did (really a story we recently read) with my eighth-graders.
• “The Outcasts of Poker Flat.” This short story by 1870’s western writer Bret Harte invariably brings me close to tears. Whether I subconsciously identify with the lead male, gambler John Oakhurst, in the no-win hand he has been dealt, I do not know. At any rate, it always brings on a flood of emotion for me. If you haven’t read it, you ought to; or if you haven’t in a while, you ought to re-read it.
• “Eight Below” This movie about sled dogs struggling for life and waiting for rescue in the Antarctic is really an example of an entire category labeled Really Brave Dogs. Stories or movies about really brave dogs invariably bring tears to my eyes.
• Couple with the above- a category labeled Really Brave Guys. In the entire theater of people gathered to see The Strange Case of Benjamin Button, I may be the only one who remained dry-eyed at the heartbreaking conditions of Benjamin’s romance, but almost lost it when the somewhat rascally captain of the merchant vessel Benjamin was serving on during WWII ordered his entire crew off ship and then proceeded to ram full speed into a Nazi U-boat turret, effectively turning his boat into a one man kamikaze ship and successfully blowing up the enemy submarine.
• Child abuse. ‘Nuff said. Tears of rage and anger.
• Crimes against women. Same as above.
• “I’m Proud to be an American,” by Lee Greenwood, or “Where The Stars and Stripes, and the Eagle Fly”, by Aaron Tippin. If you’re a veteran and you don’t tear up, it’s probably a generational or musical taste thing – not everybody likes country, I know.
• Tears of happiness, on certain occasions, inspired by my grandkids and who they are, who they are becoming, who they can be. Coupled with this, as happiness goes, certain mountain hiking or ocean related experiences.
• More than anything — hurting my wife emotionally. Not just a flippant thing, but a real hurt, caused by something I have done really insensitive or unthinking. This has only happened a couple of times, but it is without question or equal the absolute worst tears I have ever shed.
So there’s my list. What does yours look like?
Beware unholy alliances.
Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis Christian Middle School. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org