Musings on life, the universe and an elephant named Flobo


Tonight I started watching the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” and it got me thinking. Not about the pursuit of happiness, seeking a dream job and never giving up. No, it got me thinking about tears.

There are three types of tears. Basal tears, which are the eye juice that keep our eyes from drying out. Reflex tears which are useful for protecting us from irritants. Cut up an onion and it is Reflex tears that you are crying. Unless of course you had a strong attachment to said onion, in which case it is emotional tears that you shed.

I’ve never had a strong attachment to an onion. So for the purpose of this blog. I am going to focus on Emotional tears. When shown a picture of someone crying, most people would no doubt assume that the person was feeling sad or scared. It seems like a rather obvious conclusion. Tears = sad. Frowny face, sad. Smiley face, happy. Simple. However tears aren’t that simple if you think about it.

Yes, we’ve all had those times when we are so overcome with pain and hurt that we break down and have a cry. Those tears that literally shake the body and choke you up as you don’t think you are drawing in enough oxygen to sustain you. When the racking sobs have finally subsided, you are generally left feeling completely exhausted, have one hell of a runny nose, a super sexy splotchy face (with runny makeup if you’re not careful) and probably a headache. I know that whenever I get upset I end up with what is basically a migraine. I would fill my purse up with painkillers every time I had to attend a funeral, if only pain killers did a thing for me.

Another level of tears on the emotional scale would be the kind shed when watching chick flicks or reading a sad book. Waaaaaah, why won’t the silly bitch just stop being a moron and be with the hottie? Will I ever find someone like that? OMG, why can’t I look that awkwardly funny when I get dressed up and go tumbling down the stairs in front of a crush – and that guy actually seemed concerned about her?! Awwww, that old couple is just so sweet…. Yeah. We know what these movies can do to us. Whether it is watching an alien dying while a little boy cries over him, a cartoon dinosaur feeling guilty for the death of his Dad, or someone in a show going through some issues – it is enough to reduce us to a soppy mess that raises the share price of Kleenex with every ad break.

Also on the scale of tears are happy tears. These beauties are shed when we are so giddy with excitement and happiness that we can’t control ourselves. From winning the lotto to simply being reunited with somebody that you love. These seem like the more laid back of the tears, however no less important.

Like our smiley tears, the laughing tears can occur just as frequently. These little gems love to rock up when we are trying our hardest not to have any light bladder leakage. I haven’t had kids so don’t really have to worry about this one too much. However, I am certain that everyone has no doubt laughed so hard at least once in life that they were certain they were going to pee themselves. It’s not a pretty subject. But we’ve all been there.

I think people put too much emphasis on emotions and labelling it as either good or bad. At the end of the day, it is our emotions that separate us from machines. Boys should not be taught that it is weak to show emotions or cry. I don’t see being human as weak. Girls on the other hand, have known the power of tears for a long time. We know that men can become uncomfortable around emotion and so we use that knowledge to our advantage. Sometimes it works and we get our own way. Other times, well we end up single, eating a tub of melty icecream as we laze around in our pajamas and cry at the couple on the screen. No formula is perfect.

I think if an Olympics sport existed for crying. For quite a few years I could have been a star athlete. I don’t cry anywhere near as much now, although for years I was always quite concerned about dehydration. I was far too soft and let my emotions get the better of me. Now I like to mix it up and ensure I am experiencing all the tears on the spectrum.

This brings me to the end of this particular post. I shall leave you know to cut up your onions and work on your Oscars acceptance speech (unless you prefer to practice for the Nobel, Man Booker, Grammys etc… it’s your acceptance speech so accept any award you wish).

Remember, paper towel makes a poor substitute for a good tissue after more than two tears and if you are planning on crying a river – do so in the shower and avoid sanding your face off with the tissues. Those things are only soft for a little while.

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