Sunday, September 9, 2007

I'm a Sentimental Sap

Back when I was growing up, it was sort of understood that boys and men don't cry or, if you did, you didn't allow anyone else to see it. While the male gender has made some strides in the past few decades, too many men still cling to the vestiges of the "unemotional rock of humanity".

Of course, I've never come close to this stereotype. I wear my heart on my sleeve. If I'm happy, you know it. If I'm sad, you know that too.

Truth be known, I'm what you might call a sentimental sap. I've never had a problem with crying. Tears can pop up in my eyes at any time for numerous reasons.

Dramatic music often leads me to tears. I don't mean I start bawling, but they easily drip down my cheeks. Two pieces that come to mind are Tchaiskovsky's 1812 Overture and Handel's Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah. The latter has had this affect on me since I was young and it's even more pronounced now since it was played at my mother's funeral (my choice).

Movies also are prone to lead me to tears. Though I've watched Dances with Wolves numerous times, the last scene ALWAYS chokes me up. There are two different parts of ET: The Extra-Terrestrial that are guaranteed to open my tear ducts and I'm certain to go mushy watching The Wizard of Oz, Brian's Song or Titanic.

One movie that really gets me going -- and I'm sure it will surprise most of you -- is Harry & the Henderson's. I know it's not a top-rated film and the story is kind of hokey, but the emotions of separation still tug at my heartstrings. I just finished watching it on HBO and I had a good, healthy cry!

One of the things I really like about the latter movie is that -- like ET & Close Encounters of the Third Kind -- it turns the human tendency of the fear of the unknown on its head. We don't refer to the folk legend of a being in Loch Ness as an animal but as a "monster". In this same vein, the folk legends of Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yetis tend to depict evil ape-like monsters ready to kill and dismember unfortunate humans.

Do I believe that Sasquatch genuinely exists? I'm highly skeptical. But do I want to believe it? Yes, yes I do. And that's what this sentimental sap holds on to.

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