What's your weepy weakness?

Old people and dogs. Seriously, any commercial featuring a lonely-looking old person, like the Bell Canada one where the grandson calls his grampa from Dieppe, makes me sob like I’m being interviewed by Barbara Walters.

Also, dogs. I read one of those tiny impulse-buy books about a dog in the bookstore a few months ago, and found myself weeping openly.

That’s all it takes. Old people and dogs.


My weepy weakness is sacrifice. You know, people doing things that are really hard for them for the sake of another person. For some weird reason, this hits me the hardest when the sacrifice involves an object. Sacrificing your life to save someone? Whatever. Sacrificing the chipped yo-yo that momma gave you in the opening montage? Kleenex time.

I’ll second dogs. I cried myself to sleep the night I finished “Where The Red Fern Grows” and almost any dog movie where something bad happens to the dog has me holding my breath and getting a lot of drinks. That and My Dog Skip are the only stories that have ever made me cry.
Little children surviving when someone else doesn’t. Lion King didn’t actually elicit much of a reaction from me (probably because I was so young the first time I saw it) but that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about- “dad? wake up!”
funerals are pretty bad. Even really cheesy ones. Especially when there are individual people crying at it. The funeral in Evita was notsomuch sad, whereas the one in Rent had me going, “damnit, no! I will not cry!” and the brief funeral scene in ER when Mahk Greene dies made me way sadder than the whole rest of everything around it.
anything pertaining to something crazy going on in my life- Usually someone in the same situation, only magnified or in the same situation only what I fear is coming true for them when it never does for me

Animals. Any sad animal story. Especially dogs but cats, horses, ferrets, mice, rats, bunnies, frogs, goats…anything.

I was physically drained after reading “Watership Down.” For a week. Also “The Neverending Story.” Ugh.

Kids too I guess. Anyone/thing helpless that gets the short end of the stick. I was pretty broken up about the movie “My Girl.”

Parts of the Band of Brothers miniseries – specifically, “Why We Fight”, and the interview with Maj. Dick Winters where he reads Mike Ranney’s letter to his grandson. Uncontrollable weepiness.

And I’d mentioned this to another guy whom I’d loaned the DVDs to. When he returned them, he had to apologize for doing the guy-mocking thing when I’d told him that.

I got two. Homesickness, for another country. I have a lot for my own at times, so it hits close to home. If someone starts talking about how the very dirt in their home country smells different…

Small Spoiler ahead for Saving Private Ryan:

The other one is a specific type of sacrifice - parental. The scene that depicts it the most is in Saving Private Ryan, when the mother is standing on her front porch and the official government car pulls into her drive and upon seeing it the strength just drains out of her legs and she falls down. It’s that moment of ultimate parental sacrifice - she gave her boys to her country, and joyfully, but it still breaks her heart when she gets the news. I’m kind of misty-eyed just thinking of it.

I get really weepy at tales of “the outcast/misfit who seeks acceptance/a friend/a family/to be loved.” I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly what gets to me, but Lilo and Stitch hit the nail so firmly on the head that I was full-out sobbing for hours. I was 33 at the time.

Anything having to do with people going hungry (unless, of course, they are deliberately starving themselves). The Grapes of Wrath is the most devastating example in fiction, but it kills me every time I see an old guy pull a half-eaten apple out of a garbage can in the subway station. Surrounded by so many people who have so much, how does this still happen?

More embarassing, though, are MasterCard commercials. All of them. It started with sniffling over the guys who drove around to all the baseball parks, and now think I have a Pavlovian reaction any time I hear Billy Crudup say “…Priceless.”

Animals in a shelter. When I see a dog or cat in a shelter with one of those signs saying “please adopt me, I need a home” I get teary. I hate to see animals suffer. A stray kitten once hung out in my yard and cried. I wanted to take him in so badly I begged my wife…but we have three cats already (and the 3rd was adopted because he cried outside the door for food when we moved in). I guess I’m a sucker for that.

…and anything that hits the right patriotic chords for me. I’m in the military but I’m not always in agreement with the government (hell, I am hardly ever in agreement with them). But a friend of mine heard the song “American Soldier” and we both got weepy.

Children, mostly. Not everything obviously, but there are a lot of stories or images that will just break me right down. It’s pretty much only since I’ve been a parent; a few months ago I was reading a little story to my daughter out of a book I’ve loved since I was a kid, and suddenly found myself crying at the end. And there’s this one picture book about two sisters that never fails to make me cry.

The star-spangled banner will do it too, sometimes. And certain other things.

Every now and then, my best friend will look at me and say “Ohanna means family.” And then we both cry like little girls with skinned knees.

When me and Agent Foxtrot went over the border from Turkey to Greece, there was a stray dog hanging around the checkpoint. The poor dog had obviously been stray for awhile – mangy fur, ill-nourished, just generally sickly. Adam felt so bad for him he had to feed him, but the only thing we had on us was some cookies. Watching that dog try to munch those cookies with those rotten teeth… everytime I ate anything for a week afterward I thought about that dog.

For God’s sake, people, spay and neuter your animals. Have mercy. Please?

Lonely old people – the glurge about the grandpa in the nursing home who got all dressed up on his birthday and nobody showed up – that one gets me every time.

Children (even teenagers) who are outcasts or ignored. Little kids trying to get their parents’ attention in stores – nicely, not screaming – and momma acts like they’re not even there.

When my oldest was three or four, he was playing with some neighbor kids. They all went into someone’s house and closed the door in his face. He just stood there on the porch, little shoulders slumped, trying not to cry, and my heart broke for him. I’m tearing up again just thinking about it, and he’s 45 years old.

1) Big Sports Moments
It’s why we love sports, I think: they allow us to recreate much of life’s drama on a tiny scale. The triumphs, the defeats, the sacrifice. I was 16 when my high school buddies and I saw Buster Douglas defeat Mike Tyson in, arguably, the greatest upset in sports history. They were running around the room whooping and kicking dishes of nacho cheese dip over. I was biting the inside of my cheek, trying desperately not to start bawling.

2) Stories of Personal Redemption
I’m talking about books, movies and even television shows where the fuck-up loser ends up making good in the end, sometimes in spite of his or her tragic flaws, sometimes overcoming them. It can’t be as ham-handed as Randy Quaid in ID4, though. But Larry Underwood in The Stand is one of the literary characters who’s stuck with me the most over the years. So is Philip Carey from Of Human Bondage. So is Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities, and all three of these books had me in tears. As someone who considers himself a fuck-up, there’s just something very poignant about it to me.

This made me want to cry just reading about it.

I’ll infiniteth the “sad animal” stuff. It’s just so horrible when something bad happens to an animal, 'cause they’re so fundamentally innocent and don’t understand why things happen, and you can never ever explain it to them.

Any time a bully is beating up on some poor defenseles person, and the hero steps forward and you KNOW a beatdown will occur. Always gets me teary.

Also, the time the bad guys riding elephants attacking in the Two Towers. I always cry there, I dunno why. Also when the huge charge of the horsemen happens earlier.

And I add my voice to animals being hurt. People…fine. But not aminals. (and yes, I meant to spell that in that way.

Bring it down bring it down bring it DOWN!

Me, too.

For me, it’s the line “there were some, who resisted” in Fellowship of the Ring. The first time I saw that film in the theatre, I just split in half at that point.

No clue why.

I’ve got two biggies: thwarted, star-crossed, or unrequited love (Brief Encounter, Awakenings), and doomed youthful idealism, especially in man v. dictatorship scenarios (the B&W footage in The Unbearable Lightness of Being; The White Rose; footage of Tiananmen Square protesters and the heroic guy who briefly stopped a column of tanks).

I remember watching news footage of the Chinese students and workers… when the camera panned to a statue they’d created, “The Goddess of Democracy” [modelled on the Statue of Liberty], I just lost it.

People who die too young. Every time I have to write an obituary at work for someone under 50 a little piece of me dies inside. This applies in the real world and in movies and literary works, and in songs. Tonight my boyfriend was listening to System of a Down and I actually decided to pay attention to the lyrics, and one part said “They were crying when their sons left/God is wearing black/He’s gone so far to find no hope/He’s never coming back/They were crying when their sons left/All young men must go/He’s gone so far to find the truth/He’s never going home” and I just about LOST it. My boyfriend thought I was dying or something the way I burst into tears.

Courage. Not brainless idiocy, but actual courage. You hear the “Let’s Roll” stories from 9/11, the stories of people saving other people, sometimes at the cost of their own lives, the scenes in the movies where people don’t hesitate to stand up for what’s right, be that saving someone else’s life or just telling someone they’re wrong. Those always get to me.

Color guards. Seriously. I was an Army Brat and in ROTC in high school, so when I see those flags go by with their armed guards I always have to wipe a few tears away.

And of course, the deaths of characters you grow to love. There was this one book series I read, and you just got to know the character, from birth until his death at a ripe old age as one of the most loved people on the planet, and when he died it was so bittersweet. The author did write a good death for him, though.