The tracks of my many, many tears

16:00, Oct 12 2012

I've really got to sort out my crying. My quivering bottom lip is, on occasions, like a runaway train and I have no idea how to stop it. It's embarrassing, especially when I am in public, especially when I am trying to speak.

My latest outburst was at a flash luncheon where I was receiving an award for being nice to old people on the telly. I'm not sure anyone heard a word of my acceptance speech. They certainly saw the tears which started before I even got to the podium.

My excuse is it wasn't my fault. It was Joe Anderson's. I met Joe in Kaiapoi earlier this year. He's a Goodsort who lost his wife to cancer and then his cat to a speeding car. The cat tried to follow his wife to the hospice and never made it over the main highway.

I told my wife when I got home. She inquired about my mental health. It's a good question, one I have been asking a lot lately because I have no history of crying.

Growing up in Gore, no-one shed a tear, not even over onions.

I remember getting a little dust in my eye when I was maybe 7 after falling off my skateboard. I didn't cry again until I was perhaps 19, and then it was for good reason. A girl had broken my heart. The crying stopped when she mended it two nights later.


At my brother's wedding I cried during my speech. At my own wedding I cried even though I was actually pretty happy to be married. I cried when our first child arrived and maybe when our second popped out too.

I recently cried on the job. That's unprofessional but everyone else in the room was crying. Maybe I went out in sympathy or perhaps I'm just not as good at suppressing my feelings as the other stern men in suits who report on the telly.

I'm in my late 30s and have cried more in the past two years than I did in the first two decades of my life.

I blame the kids. Actually I blame my kids. Once you start having them, somehow life seems so much more valuable.

Recently on a job I met two children who will grow up without a parent. That started my bottom lip a quivering. Then I met their mother. A woman who said goodbye to her husband as he went off to work, never to return.

That's crying material, but when I was a young, ambitious cub reporter I would have shaken  it off, no problem. Now, as soon as I start thinking about how my children would fare growing up without me or my wife, that's a sure-fire catalyst for tears.

I know women think it's great when men show their vulnerability, get in touch with their feelings and all that stuff, but I'm not so keen.

I'm not ashamed of my tears -  it's just on a practical level it's hard to communicate when your bottom lipcan't form words properly. If you talk for a living, this is an especially parlous state.

Hadyn Jones is a journalist who is relieved to inform you no tears have been shed in the writing of this fortnightly column.

The Dominion Post