Shedding a tear with or about a friend, during a movie or a testimony or a beautiful scriptural or musical pericope is pretty common. Everyone knows of President Eyring’s near boundary to tearful expression. Occasionally I’ve heard the odd Church leader remark that the shedding of tears (usually by men) is a mark of spirituality (maybe they’re thinking: “Jesus wept”). When I’ve sat through such speech, I have felt a little inadequate (maybe only Idaho farm boys cry – kidding, I’m kidding). I don’t cry. Not that I have never cried. I have. Three or maybe four times since childhood. Once I cried for days on end. But that seems to have used up the tears and it was decades ago. Does this make me an aberration? Do serial killers cry? (You can’t trust filmography for this.)
Some of the medical literature suggests that people on certain psychoactive drugs don’t cry. Sometimes depression manifests with this kind of thing. All interesting ideas, but they do not apply to me. I have nothing against criers. My wife cries and my son currently at home will shed a tear now and then. Other people crying does make me a bit nervous now. I’m not sure how to identify with it. Like I’m outside the pale of the crying humans. The Venn diagram: Things that cry, things that don’t cry. I find myself in the circle with the space aliens and mountain lions. Don’t get me wrong, this is not something I think about much, but Mark Brown’s post on, of all things, the Tab Choir, made me think of it enough to pen this.
I’ve observed women crying way more often than men. I realize there are cultural and biological issues at work here. But when a woman (no guys have done this) comes into my office and starts to cry about her troubles (or bad grade on the last test) I don’t render any judgement about it. It sort of bothers me that I don’t feel much empathy about the crying itself I guess. I certainly don’t belittle the process (I can’t claim that I haven’t ever done this). But it occasionally bugs me just a bit that I don’t belong to the club. Am I Spock? Some of my friends, even family have accused me of having Vulcan blood I’ll admit. Perhaps I’m simply an unsympathetic person. But I do try to help when I see the need. I offer personal help. I even help students. And I do get emotional about things, you know, love, anger, sorrow, etc.
In the poll, select the answer that most applies to you. If more than one applies you can select “at the drop of a hat.” Or complain in the comments. In any case, diagnose me, or talk about yourselves, or something. I want to hear all about it.