Monday, January 04, 2016


A friend sent me a video taken from YouTube…a Budweiser commercial which aired only once, during the first Super Bowl game following 9-11. It shows the Budweiser Clydesdales...magnificent animals...pulling the Budweiser wagon through farmland and into New York City. Framed against the skyline, the horses bow toward the space where the twin towers once stood. Lump-in-throat time.

I regret I cannot recall the sponsor of what is, to me, the most powerful commercial I’ve seen. I may have mentioned it once before: a young boy is with his father in a dog pound, looking into the cages at various strays in eye-level cages. The boy points to one and says, “I want that one.” A close-up of the dog shows it is missing an eye. “You don’t want that one!” the father says. “Get a normal one.” The final scene shows the boy and his father walking out of the shelter, the father holding the disfigured dog while his beaming son walks beside him with crutches and leg braces. Bigtime heart grabber!

Patriotic songs. Broadway show tunes (“Impossible Dream,” “I Am What I Am,” “Maybe This Time” and countless others), full orchestral music, movies and plays with powerfully uplifting endings (I cried at not one but three points in E.T., twice near the end of Man of La Mancha, and had my heart torn out every one of the eight times I saw Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake).

People’s bravery under the unfathomable stresses of a major disaster fill me with both sorrow and wonder for what it shows about the nobility of the human condition. Seeing men cry on television frequently brings me, too, to tears. Gratuitous acts of kindness move me.

I sometimes cry when I am writing dramatic passages in my books. I can easily cry when I think of those people I loved (and still love) who have died…which is why if I start to think of them, I have trained myself to think of other things.

I’m not a blubberer who can burst into tears at the slightest provocation, but when things move me deeply I do get a tightness in my chest and a lump in my throat. I shed tears of joy and wonder as often as tears of sadness. And like most men, I cannot recall the last time (if I have ever done it since turning six years old) I cried in public…which is probably why I am moved to tears by television coverage of events in which men are shown crying.

I turn to mush around babies of all species, except possibly reptiles.

As to how or when I became such a softie, it’s a classic “the-chicken-or-the-egg” situation. I am and have always been an incorrigible romantic, so it’s impossible to say whether I’m a softie because I’m a romantic, or a romantic because I’m a softie. Not surprisingly, I generally tend to be a Pollyannaish, Dr. Panglossian heart-on-my-sleeve liberal, for which I make absolutely no apology despite there being mounds of evidence pointing to life’s ample negatives. For me, the glass is half full rather than half empty, and I choose to see the world as three-quarters good rather than being three-quarters hopeless.

Have I mentioned that I also choose to largely ignore reality?
This blog is from Dorien's book of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon:

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