We're watching the trailers before "Dreamgirls," and Keren leans
over to tell me that she doesn't think the Will Smith "Pursuit of
Happyness" film looks all that interesting. I can't answer. I'm weeping.
thing happens with the "Freedom Writers" trailer. And Effie's big solo
number in "Dreamgirls." She belts out, "And I'm Telling You I'm Not
Going." And I start bawling.
"What's the matter with you?" Keren asks.
"Well," I explain, "It's time you knew: I'm a wimp for emotional manipulation."
stuff that should hurt – the sticks, the stones, the comparisons to Joel Stein – that stuff just washes right over me. But show me a McDonald's
commercial in which a young child and his grandparents enjoy a softly
lit moment of multigenerational bonding, and it's all over.
love to say that this is a new phenomenon. Part of the
softening-of-Mayrav-since-childbirth thing. But I've always been easily
winded by an emotional sucker punch. When I first started dating Hubby,
I hid my frailty behind my allergies, maintaining that my sniffles were
the direct result of cat dander, and not of a sweet AT&T commercial
(that little preschooler is all grown up and graduating college and his
parents are so proud!).
My weepy wimpiness doesn't seem to have
a lunar connection; but when I was pregnant, at least I could weep
openly at Kleenex commercials and then blame my hormones. These days I
don't have that excuse. Just a lot of spent tissues.
sure what causes this condition, but I believe it might be congenital.
Like I was simply born with an overactive schmaltz processor, some area
in my brain that retains images of small kittens and children
overcoming adversity and breaks them down into a salty liquid.
known people with worse schmaltz-processor problems – one of my friends
in high school used to cry if she saw someone else crying. (In addition
to being easily manipulated, I'm also a little bit cruel, and, I have
to admit, we did have some fun with this.)
While it's not new,
I've noticed my own defect is getting worse. I'm not sure if
commercials and trailers have gotten more manipulative, or if I'm
getting weaker. But I'll cry at anything now.
I was reading Zev
a children's book about Abraham Lincoln and found myself choking back
tears when I read the line, "A life for sale – like hatchet, ax, or
plow? Abe knew it was unjust to own another."
It's not that
slavery isn't worth crying about. But the mention of slavery in a book
about Lincoln probably shouldn't have caught me so off guard.
So Keren's question stands: What's wrong with me?
It can't be that I'm a particularly sensitive soul: I once ended a
conversation between two of my friends by bonking their heads together
(It was really, really mean, I know – and not recommended. But man, it
One explanation I've come up with is that I turn
on the waterworks because I'm simply a polite audience member. My brain
deconstructs all the elements of a Hollywood-manufactured touching
moment – the music, the lighting, the sense of a true connection
between human beings – and my eyes just do what's expected of them.Or maybe I'm such a simpleton that I can't steel myself against obvious emotional exploitation.
way, I need to figure out what's wrong and put a stop to it. It's
gotten to the point that I can't read certain book passages or listen
to certain songs without bursting into tears. Soon, I'll have to skip
movies all together. Before I know it, I'll be a shut-in, so terrified
at the prospect of tears that I'm afraid to leave my house and the
comfy company of my cat friends. I'll be alone. I'll be ostracized.
I'll be kinda creepy.
It's enough to make me weep.