In what appears to be a growing journalism trend where the writer bypasses research and poses a question instead of delivering information, I read a particle a few days ago in which the ought-er asked his readers to explain why people cry when they laugh. I returned the ought-er's effort by asking more questions. Do you also wonder why people cry when peeling onions, facing the sun, yawning, or battling foreign objects in the eye area?
I consider myself somewhat an expert on tears. My credentials, for those who might question this determination, are as follows:
- My maternal grandfather and uncle cried every time they laughed.
- A paternal uncle cried at weddings and after his second highball every Christmas Eve.
- I cried for three straight days once and think, even if that is not a record, it deserves special recognition.
- Several highly-specialized ophthalmologists have examined, prodded, x-rayed and MRI'd my eyes and concluded that they are sufficiently dry to warrant permanent plugs in all four tear ducts and a lifetime of bankrupting prescriptions.
- I can almost recite Iyanla Vanzant's poem, Yesterday, I CriedÂ and I have read the entire book more than once.
- I enjoy the benefits of crying so much that I schedule cries if too much time passes between spontaneous one.
- My granddaughter respects my crying wisdom enough to turn to me for advice. *
Before stressing myself with the gruesome task of typing tears in my search engine box and consulting the fact monster, I flung myself on the proverbial limb, resolved that the body produces tears without emotional involvement (as in the onion, sun, yawn, and foreign object examples), and brazenly put laughter-associated tears in that same category. Even though laughter is a response to an emotion, I believe my laughing tears are more reflexive than physic.
After doing basic research, I am not sure all experts agree with me. However, even without the benefit of chemical protein testing, I am sticking with my belief for now since I am not the only one to question the wikipedia report. I am a hearty laugher, and think the pressure-in-the-head-causing-an-overflow-of-basal-tears explanation works much better than the I'm-moved-to-tears rationalization for my laughter-induced tears. Besides, a real cry requires a coordinated effort of emotions, cells, and glands, and I am quite sure I am not focused enough to carrying that out while I am enjoying myself.
* Bonus grandchild story
My four-year-old granddaughter surprised me when she left her toys to come sit beside me on the couch and watch the television special about Oprah's Leadership Academy For Girls. She listened intently to the applicant interviews and watched the docudrama profiles of their histories. When the selected students were shown their new school and home, and a few expressed excitement over having showers, Tatum stopped breathing and looked up at me.
"Gramma, do you ever cry because you are just so so happy?" she finally asked.
I blinked away my tears and assured her that I often cry when I am so so happy.
She smiled, said she does too, and released her own little river of tears.
Extra Bonus DefinitionsÂ
basal tear - protective (lubricate)
reflex tear - response (onions, foreign objects)
physic tears (weeping or crying) - different chemicals in these tears