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For Crying Out Loud!

Submitted by Albin Johnson - September 18, 2006

Alfred Richard Smith wrote that "tears" are the safety valves of the heart when too much pressure is laid upon a person. There doesn't seem to be much scientific definition or explanation as to why we cry tears. Some experts suggest that certain hormones are activated when pain, joy, and memories are brought to mind. Scientists have isolated the hormone PROLACTIN that is present in the tear ducts. Tears do contain salt similar to the salt found in sweat glands. Other scientists agree that tears do not appear in any other animal even when the animal is experiencing pain or joy. But, animals do secrete watery mucus that protects their eyes.

Researchers have decided that there are 3 types of tears. 1- Basal Tears are used to create a thin layer of moisture over the eyes to protect and lubricate them. 2- Irritant Tears are the product of a shock such as a poke in the eye or perhaps the result of the aroma from cutting onions. 3- Psychic or emotional Tears are activated by stress, anger, or happiness. The Psychic Tear has been found to have a different chemical structure! I honestly didn't make this stuff up!

Newborn babies cry only from pain, hunger or tiredness. Parents, and especially grandparents, just can't keep their eyes from welling up when holding a newborn babe. You suddenly realize that here is something far greater than any other miracle on Earth. On a lighter note, Astronauts cannot cry tears in space where there is no gravity, and so no place for the tears to fall? But, here on Earth, watching them perform up there can have a different result. Sad and emotional movies can really bring the hankies out!

I recently watched a TV rerun movie called "The Rookie". Actor Dennis Quaid played Jim Morris who was an actual Teacher and High School baseball Coach in a small town. The story follows his transforming the ball team and recalling his dream from earlier life of becoming a professional pitcher. I have seen this movie several times and I can't seem to quell the tears in my eyes as he actually makes it to the Big Leagues. I must suggest that Hollywood knows that most any movie that deals with baseball or dogs can produce tears from the viewer.

The definitions of "cry, cries, and crying" are many and varied. Years ago, hucksters "Cried their wares". To cry is to plead, implore and extol. During war times we hear the anxious "battle cry" of our fighting men. Where I live we have coyotes and late at night we hear their distant cries ranging from short yips to long choruses. A far cry can be something totally different. There are words like sobbing, blubbering, whimpering, mewling and puling. Then there is keeping your eyes pealed. Again, movie producers like to include the word "cry" and other words like "song, poet, tears, and dream" that are designed to provoke an emotional response.

Those old enough to remember WW11 would be familiar with the RKO movie shorts that preceded the main movie feature. Early during the fighting they were filled with emotional reels of pain, fatigue, death and victory, all these shorts could produce tears! I remember one showing the victory parade down the Champs Elysees in Paris on VE Day. Hundreds of GI's marching in parade past thousands of very appreciative French people. The camera man showed many young women showering flowers and kisses upon the victors, but the shot I remember most and have seen it several times since was a close up of a Frenchman who was overcome with joy and had tears streaming down his face.

The same Victory in Europe Day that was celebrated in Times Square, New York has been shown many times. No formal ranks of GI's marching, only hundreds of young people and many service people intermingling while the camera zeroes in on a Sailor passionately kissing a young girl while another GI climbs a light post. Joyous tears abounded, but sadly many more tears would be shed before the war was over.

On the lighter side, a few bits of trivia: Will Paris Hilton's venture into the field of music brings any tears to your eyes? An organization called "TEARS" stands for The Emergency Animal Rescue Service that provides animals for adoption. Was California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger referring to Democrats when he coined the word "Girlie man"? Perhaps he had just seen the movie "Boys Don't Cry"? The movie featured Hillary Swank, acting as a transgender female posing as a boy and learning how to cuss, fight and act like a Macho man. Finally, I really enjoyed the music, but I personally couldn't muster up a tear for the portrayal of Eva Peron in "Don't Cry For Me Argentina"

None of the afore mentioned "CRIES" have affected me as much as did Johnnie Ray recording of the song "Cry" in the fall of 1951. I was recently married and had shipped off to Guantanamo Bay for 6 months. He sang this song with pure passion. I still remember the lyrics! "If your sweetheart sends a letter of goodbye, it's no secret you'll feel better if you cry!" I did manage a basketball trip to Norfolk along with a 3 day pass that got me back to ISNU long enough to kiss and say "goodbye". Then when Johnny Rays hit, "Little White Clouds That Cry" came out, thank goodness it was time to return to the US.

If you are tired of mindless, emotionless and totally inane "RAP" music, find some old 78's and listen to some of my generations "tearjerkers" such as these lyrics: "I've got tears in my ears from lying on my back in my bed crying on my pillow over you. Maybe some lyrics that chastised Mable for having her elbows on the table and forgetting to get someone another beer! For which the $2 had already been paid. Levity aside, Aerosmith's "Cry Me a River" is a classic. The lyrics go like this: "Now you say you're lonely, you cry the whole night through, cry me a river, cry me a river, I cried a river over you! And finally, the Beatles singing, "I'm trying to forget you told me so many promising lies, I'm trying to forget these lonesome tears in my eyes". Forgive me while I get a clean hanky. A person gets nostalgic in his old age.