Day Eleven: Weepy Wednesday

Do I really have to go there? Seriously, I’m a dude and dudes don’t weep. At least, not the way I was brought up. I can remember one time – not one of my “banner” moments. I was, hmmm, an early teen, maybe around 15 or so. I had my own motorcycle – a Suzuki. I used to ride it out in the woods, which were quite plentiful “back in the day”. These days most of those same woods are populated by McMansions in my old home town.  Anyhow, my parents were fine with letting me go off and ride with a small group of other kids in the neighborhood who had motorcycles (Doug had the 90cc Kawasaki, Mark had a small 50cc Honda, and Frank, well, I think he had a Husqvarna). The only rule my parents had was don’t let anyone else ride your motorcycle. In hindsight, a pretty good rule.  But, of course, kids don’t follow rules very well.

So… we’re out riding in the woods one day and I agree to let a friend (Mark), take my motorcycle for a spin. Off he goes. That particular section of the woods had a nice little riding loop (Pine Woods lake area) and a few minutes later I see him heading back towards the clearing we were all standing in. He’s lookin’ fine, coming down a nice, wide, clear straightaway and pretty soon it becomes apparent that he’s not going to stop. Concern turns to panic and I start waving my arms frantically but to no avail. He’s in some sort of a trance (literally and seriously) and drives right past us, heading straight for the lake. At the very last second he swerves off and drives into a group of young trees and saplings, hitting a tree.

We all go running over – and of course, I’m now panicking because I know “the rule”. And, to make matters worse, there is a consequence. Mark, the guy riding my now damaged motorcycle, is physically okay for the most part, but he has amnesia. Can’t remember, well, almost anything really. So, we begin the long trek/walk back home and meanwhile my mind is working furiously, trying to find a way out of this dilemma, while also trying to help Mark regain his memory – that, to no avail.

By the time we get home I’ve concocted this absurd “tale” (ok, lie) about how Mark had climbed a tree and was watching me ride my motorcycle when he fell out of the tree and I crashed my bike because I was watching him. Actually, somewhat plausible. There was a lot of seriousness and concern when all the parents convened, mine and his, and of course, concern for Mark’s amnesia. However, the story floated and all seemed good…  Until my dad got home. I think I was out in the back yard and dad came out to see what had happened and he didn’t really do anything – he almost never got upset and only once do I have some vague recollection of him maybe actually strapping us with a belt (and believe me, we deserved it that time), but he just looked at me and said, “now tell me what really happened”. And that was it. I just spilled the real story and I started to cry and he looked at me and said, “stop crying – men don’t cry.”

And as you can see, that experience has stuck with me for my entire life – in every particular detail. I can see it, feel it, and smell it as if it happened only yesterday. I guess those are the moments that define us and make us who we are because they become so ingrained into the fabric of who we are that there is nothing to do but accept that as a fiber of our being.

So, despite that “teen” lesson, I do cry. Indeed, lately I’ve been crying at the drop of a hat. I’ll be fine one moment, and then “BAM” – Niagra Falls (just watched Scrooged the other night and the taxi driver dude says that to Bill Murray – Niagra Falls). Seriously though, since my mom passed away I can be fine most of the time, and then all it takes is some small stray thought, or a sudden and momentary realization that she is really gone, and I lose it.  Also, for the week after my sweetie was diagnosed with liver cancer last February, many tears were shed, and still occasionally are, for all that she has been through, and for what she continues to have to endure.

And yes – movies can get to me too. Honestly, I think I need more testosterone or something, although that could make driving in commuter traffic “interesting”

So, that’s my “weepy” story.

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14 Responses to WEEPY

  1. TinkNL says:

    Imho, real men DO weep. As I read this, you’ve got good reasons to cry, and as I said in my own weepy post: tears can be very healing! So, good for you!
    While reading about your sweetie my eyes started gathering tears. I read some old posts and lit a candle for the both of you.

  2. Suzie Ridler says:

    I often wonder how hard it must be for men as boys growing up with that pressure to be stoic. I am so sorry to hear about your mom and your sweetie. I send healing thoughts your way and Scrooged can make me cry too and they don’t show it enough on TV anymore during the holidays. I love that movie.

    • nowandzenn says:

      Yeah, I just grew up in a different time (early-mid-late 1960s) and my dad was a product of the depression-era 30s and 40s so a whole different mindset for men back then. So my dad was only reiterating what he’d been taught. And yes, Scrooged can require a few tissues – the scene with his mom (and mean father) and the final seen with the boy who finds his voice. It’s one of my Christmas favorites too.

  3. nowandzenn says:

    Thank you Tink! I truly appreciate that as does my better half. I share all with her and she is deeply grateful for the way so many people have supported us and we understand and appreciate how every act, even the smallest one, has significance.

  4. Tery says:

    Lovely Post and very heartfelt.

  5. I’d say you have just the right amount of testosterone. I think it would be odd if you DIDN’T cry when thinking about your mom or out of concern for your partner.

    The motorcycle story is a classic – it sounds like a scene right out of a movie. What were the chances, right? 🙂

  6. nowandzenn says:

    Exactly! Ah, the things that happen to us in life….

  7. Ginny says:

    When you were telling the motorcycle story I could picture it all so vividly. Events like that do stand out and can definitely define who we are. You are lucky that you are able to cry. So many people hold it in and that does not help anyone. It sounds to me like you are exactly the way you should be.

    • nowandzenn says:

      It was amazing, even to me, how clear it still was in my mind, some 40 years later. I was just kind of writing down the film I was seeing rolling in my head. And thank you – I like to think that I’m a work in progress – moving in the right direction. 🙂

  8. Sherry Smyth says:

    No we didn’t listen to the rules when we were younger and we always managed to come up with some story that we thought would cover us. Usually all it would take was that one person to ask the “right” question and the truth would spill out and yes, often tears. Boys being told that “men don’t cry” was such a “thing” until recent years. As if that made boys/men more “manly”…as if. That you can now be in touch with your deepest feelings and express them is such a good thing…and it makes you more open to others and their pain/sorrow/need. Great story John.

  9. Linda says:

    Crying at the drop of a hat used to bother me a lot when I was young. I guess I’m fortunate that girls cry so didn’t have an additional stigma attached to it. Still, the emotional flip would switch and once waterworks begun and inwardly I would be horrified that I couldn’t control that response. Now I accept it somewhat better but it is still embarrassing in public places. But, it is part of me so there it is.

  10. I could picture the motorcycle scene – none of us as teenagers were any good at following rules (I am still not good at it). I think crying is a good thing more often than not – it heals the heart and soul in so many ways. I am sorry for the loss of your mom and also so sorry for what your sweetie is going through. I am very glad she has you to lean on.

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