I was a pretty emotional kid. I remember being easily reduced to tears in my pre-school and kindergarten days. By an large, I was a happy child, always wanting to laugh, always had the best intentions, never a malicious thought. When things didn't work out that way I was hurt by it.
These days, I am generally still that way. I really love being happy, and even more than being happy, I love when other people are happy and enjoying themselves. Now... I'm six feet tall, 250 lbs, and not all of it beer belly... I have a shaved head, and a full beard. I'm a wallet chain short of a hell's angel.
I've had good friends tell me that they were scared shitless of me back before they knew me, and were afraid that they'd have to fight me someday (Apparently that was a common thing to worry about for the smaller kids...) So you might imagine how out of place the rest of this post should sound... I have a very girlishly difficult time not crying at totally girly times.
I can't watch chick flicks without spending at least twenty minutes steeling myself for the sad parts. Fortunately there's almost always plenty of time where they're just yapping, so I take that time to strap on the mental armor.
I've even gone so far as setting up a fan so that it was blowing straight in my face, TWENTY MINUTES before even starting a movie, JUST IN CASE there was a sad part, I could say the fan was making my eyes run.
Why do women LIKE those movies anyway?? What the hell is wrong with you people?? "Oh, I love this movie, it's so SAD!" ...wtf?
I've been successful in pulling off the tough-guy act for the family so far... for the last 12 or so years, I've been able to look away in time, or make myself laugh before having to dig an imaginary eyelash out of my eye... I did get caught once, in Hope Floats, when the main character's mother dies... She was a taxidermist though, and I changed the subject by saying they were going to have her stuffed and propped up in the swing on the porch. I think I was able to avoid having that hit my permanent record.
Anyway, one of the hardest "guy" (or Geek) movies to watch for me is the third Lord of the Rings movie, (Spoiler coming up, in case you haven't seen it. ...and shame on you for not!) when Frodo gets to take the ship with the Elves, and Sam, Merry and Pippin are just finding out about it... (Which, by the way, Frodo's an ass for blindsiding them like that, he really should have given them the heads up... ). Watching the confusion on their faces give way to a stomach-knotting dread that they'll never see their friend again... Yeah, total guy-tears. I think the worst part is, they all have these innocent child-like faces. I hate when kids are disappointed or sad... freaking kills me.
This came to mind today as I sat in my daughter's school auditorium to see their school show. My daughter's Kindergarten performed "High Hopes". She was a rubber-tree plant, and she did a terrific job. For someone as full of energy and drama as my daughter to stand there, NOT move and NOT sing, showed tremendous effort.
I watched her grinning face beaming out at the audience, green construction paper hanging from her cheeks, and could see so much of myself in her. She tried desperately not to laugh when I stuck my tongue out at her. Then of course, I started thinking about how big she's gotten and how my little girl was growing up so fast, etc... I had to start blinking fast to try to get the tears welling in my eyes to stop. Then naturally my wife looked over at me, and I made the cliche comment about the air quality being poor and my eyes burning... figured that'd cover me for the whole show.
I once told my daughter to stop growing up. She looked at me completely disappointed and said "I'm sorry daddy, I don't know how!" She'll be six in July, and it's kinda freaking me out how fast they went, and knowing that it won't be much longer before she realizes that I'm not perfect, and don't know everything, and that she would rather spend time with someone else. God help her first boyfriend... I got a gun and a shovel, and no one will miss you, kid.
Until then though, all I can do is enjoy the things she does, even if they make me crazy. I know there are a few guys out there reading this, and you all have these same sorts of feelings whether you want to admit it or not. How do you deal with it?