‘There’s a tear in my beer’

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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Growing up in rural North Texas, I’ve always fashioned myself as a man’s man – a tough exterior and even harder on the inside.

Johnny Cash’s “Boy Named Sue” with the line “Son, this world is rough. And if a man’s gonna make it, he’s gotta be tough” was more of a life mantra than an amusing song.

To keep up the facade, I openly admit to making multiple impulse purchases of expensive sunglasses before attending funerals.

But over the years, I’ve noticed the hardened layers start to slowly peel away with sudden bursts of emotion.

The first time I noticed this was while waiting for my wife to finish a half marathon and seeing the joy of other runners crossing the finish line and accomplishing their goal. Standing there seeing their elation, I felt a little sports cry coming on. My reaction was to quickly remove myself from the situation and go back out and run to forget this emotion.

In recent years, I’ve tried to curtail my emotional outbursts to once per month when watching the HBO show “Real Sports.” Bryant Gumbel and his cast of reporters will once per episode have a story about a brother pushing his brother through a triathlon, a football player dying of ALS or last month’s story about the Refugio football team. It’s impossible to get through the hour without waterworks.

As I become a man and turn 40 this week, it seems I can’t keep the tears confined to the privacy of my own couch. In the past few months, I found myself trying to hold back a few tears talking with pride about coworkers. Then there was the public crying display at the airport watching our daughter head to the gate to fly back to Iowa.

It hit its peak last weekend trying to thank friends for coming to a birthday party. Midway through my thoughts, I found my voice cracking and eyes tearing up. What is wrong me? John Wayne would not stand for this would he? Actually, I think he would.

I think it’s starting to become more socially acceptable for men to show some emotion, with Jimmy Kimmel leading the way. In the past year when talking about his son, who has battled health issues since birth, Kimmel has broken down a number of times on the air.

Even pro athletes have not been afraid to show emotion after big moments. Check out the reaction at the end of the Minnesota Vikings’ dramatic win over the weekend.

Maybe it’s just me crafting a defense for my changing personality, but I believe that letting down our guard and not being afraid to show a little emotion can only be a good thing to get through a rough world.

Richard Greene is the editor of the Messenger. In the words of Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy, he became a man and turned 40 Wednesday.

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