For a humor writer I sure cry an awful lot. Ever since I gave birth to my first son, my eyes have been little brown geysers just waiting to blow.
I don’t even have to know you to be moved to tears by you. Just show me some neighborhood children walking to school with their parents, and I’m all, look at them going off to school. They’re still babies.
Soldiers in uniform: My God, they’re just babies!
Babies: Maaaahh babies!
Show me an “Extreme Makeover” in any edition, and I will show you a replica of Mount Kilimanjaro crafted entirely out of sopping wet Kleenex. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing like seeing the mother of 87 foster children finally get a decent haircut to just rip at your heart strings. Put the mother in a wheelchair, and you’ll have to wipe me off the floor. Put a baby in a wheelchair with a new haircut and have the whole neighborhood pitch in to build his mom and dad a Craftsman-style bungalow with wheelchair ramps … just stop. I can’t even talk about it.
Of course, it’s not just On Star commercials and episodes of “America, You’ve Got Talent!” that make me weep. Any major event in the lives of my friends and family — births, marriages, divorces, deaths, their dogs’ deaths, a succinct and well-articulated graduation speech or an especially delicious cheese appetizer — can cue up the waterworks.
I pulled up at my sons’ preschool for their annual Thanksgiving feast in November, and my head almost exploded from all the fond, weepy memories I could potentially make. Sure enough, Gus’s recitation of the days of the week damn near did me in. Yet, when I glanced around the room at all the other parents, there wasn’t a damp eye in the house. MACHINES, these people. They probably eat shrapnel pancakes for breakfast every morning and wash them down with pitchers of fresh-squeezed battery acid.
Sometimes (and when I say sometimes I mean “at least once a week”) I’ll cry about things that have never happened to me and, God willing, never will. Horrible things. Tragic things. Psychiatrists call this “catastrophizing,” but I like to call it my way of life. I once discovered what turned out to be a pimple on my left nipple and imagined my way through 365 days of chemotherapy and radiation.
I sobbed as I envisioned my sad little bald head and subsequent loss of bowel control, the scene at my deathbed where I’d light some pumpkin scented candles and tell my boys how much I love them, kissing my husband for the last time, knowing THIS IS THE LAST TIME, wondering if he will remarry, wondering who he’ll remarry, deciding it will be someone nicer and more laid back (but probably a little chubbier) than me, and then crying tears of joy that he was able to find love again.
The flip side of all these tears is that I also laugh easily. Some would say a little too easily. And too hard. And too long. And at my own jokes.
Sometimes I snort.
A lot of times, I snort.
And when I find something really, really funny, I just can’t help myself. I laugh so hard … I cry.