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Monday, June 8, 2009

Father's Day-ii

Payito & me, in a crop of a family photo
Payito & me, in a crop of a family photo

As human beings we are not of course strangers to tears. A certain kind of crying will always stay with us. The moment you see —or hear about— that type of crying it will impress in your mind. Take for example this friend of mine that I never saw cry and yet gave one of the most honest answers I’ve ever heard.
At the time we were having this conversation 'Platoon' was all the rage in theaters. He’d not seen it —and, most likely, never saw it.
“Don’t like war movies,” he replied when asked about what he thought of it. “War movies make me cry.”
This from a man whose many medals for valor and bravery and whatever soldiering prowess you can think have proudly displayed in his living room.
It was on another level and for different reasons the same with seeing my father cry —the pix here is cropped out of a family photo taken about 1958.
A man with a weakness certainly but not a weak man who that time at the cemetery showed me however unwillingly that your sensibility does not in any way sap your strength or diminishes you at all.
That is of course a lesson that you’ll learn if and when you have the right frame of mind. When you are not out to psychoanalyze every one to death. And, most certainly when you are not a manipulative jerk.
One reason I think that most of us men avoid crying or even acknowledge that we may cry at times is because of the danger that comes from those who will exploit that piece of information. Believe you me, that person interested in finding out what makes you tick has more than just a congratulatory word for you in mind.
Should you blurt out that respect from your peers is important to you [not in the sense of being the ultimate definer but more in a kind of I’ll-say-this-’cause-after-all-what’s-wrong-with-a little-Rodney-Dangerfield-in-each-of-us] beware if he later greets you each and every fucking time with a, “I respect you, my buddy!” or some kind of variation.
Probably too late for me to take advantage of that lesson, I have now finally come to understand why my father hid that emotional side of him.
And also why, other than Mayita, I may have been of the few to ever see him cry.
Neither one of us was out to manipulate him or take advantage of that soft side of him, much in the same way that neither Mayita nor me thought less of him for having a weakness, his occasional and distressing falls into alcoholic stupor.

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