Ok. I have a problem that just won’t go away. I cry. At pretty much anything.

It seems I have tears simmering just under the surface, waiting for any remotely sentimental, sad event for them to just bubble over. It’s more than a little annoying; to me and to anyone unlucky enough to be nearby.

Cry Me a River

Not sobbing, not wailing; just annoying tears that just overflow out of the corners of my eyes… enough for people to look at me and in disbelief, say “You’re crying??! You know this is a commercial, right?”

I don’t fool myself into thinking that I am any more sensitive than the next person, or care more deeply about the world. Everyone has their own kryptonite, and no matter how many times I tell myself, “It’s an ad. These aren’t real people! These are ACTORS! You’ve only been watching for 15 seconds! What is WRONG with you?!” I still weep.

Growing up and watching many of the popular TV shows at the time usually resulted in my grabbing for the Kleenex box:

Little House on the Prairie. When I wasn’t marveling at Michael Landon’s luxurious mane of hair, I was becoming misty-eyed over that bitty Nellie Oleson picking on those Ingalls girls. And Mary goes BLIND!? Are you kidding me?

The Waltons. They were so darn poor, collecting pennies to go into town to buy candles. And John-Boy was so broodingly thoughtful. How many crushes did he have? Always on older women. When John-Boy graduated from high school, and Grandpa gave up his funeral suit for him, I about died.

Touched By An Angel/Highway to Heaven. Anytime there were angels involved, I knew my waterworks would be flowing. And whenever Andrew, the Angel of Death showed up, I lost it. Every time.

CBS Afterschool Specials—Remember The Love Experiment? Hewitt’s Just Different? Awful, awful shows. Watched them every week.

As an adult, I have learned to avoid certain themes in TV, movies, books, and songs: aging parents, war veterans returning home, cancer, Alzheimer’s, death (either animal or human, doesn’t matter), unrequited love, estranged parent/child relationships, cruel bullying, mentally/physically handicapped characters, the list goes on and on.

I have tried to join book clubs but invariably the book selection involves a tragic, doomed romance, death, or war. No thanks. I will stick to my non-fiction (George Lindsey’s autobiography, Goober in a Nutshell, was a great read.)

On a plane trip to Europe I read Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember—a friend told me “It’s so romantic!”– and the flight attendant actually asked my husband if I “needed help.” I suspect the other passengers were complaining.

Forrest Gump was without a doubt one of the most unpleasant movies I have ever sat through. I clearly should have done more research on the plot. A special needs’ Vietnam vet who saves his war buddy? And has a supportive mom who dies during the film? And Jenny didn’t answer his letters? All that was missing was a blind dog with terminal cancer. I think I watched the entire movie through eyes welled up with tears. I was non-stop crying from the first scene. Terrible, terrible movie. I definitely preferred Tom Hanks in Joe vs The Volcano.

My children treat me like a science project. For Christmas a few years ago, my youngest gave me a plaque engraved with a hokey quote about motherhood and intently stared at me while I read it. She wanted to see how quickly until I started to cry. I am surprised she didn’t arrange a pool and take bets with her brother and sister.

My husband surprised me by changing my computer’s screen saver to a slide show of our kids’ baby pictures, and I about bit his head off and quickly changed it to something less emotionally wrenching.

I worked as a Teacher’s Aide in a Kindergarten class for several years, and the teacher would read I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch at the Mother’s Day Tea. If you are not familiar with the book, please do not read it. It will ruin your day with its (slightly creepy) message of motherly love. I told the teacher that perhaps she should have a private screening of The Champ to the class and we can all sing The Cat’s in the Cradle to really make the all the moms sob uncontrollably.

Funny thing is that I never cry during weddings, being more interested in the exciting possibility of being served stuffed mushrooms and an open bar at the reception than I am at two people professing their undying love for each other.

On the flip side, my kids tell me I laugh too loudly at pretty much anything, and it embarrasses them terribly.

Now THAT makes me happy. So happy I just might cry.