To Cry or Not

Sometimes, when it gets really bad, I contemplate just going ahead and bursting into tears. I figure that’s just the kind of namby-pamby crap they expect from a Democrat, and maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll shake their heads and let me go home with a cold compress. But I have a reputation to uphold. I am not a crier—well, not at work, anyway. I maintain more of a Weimar-era tough-cookie image, all paper cuts and ironic hysteria and dark circles under the eyes. So instead of crying, I sigh when asked to get a box of Kleenex for a grieving widow, or bang my head wearily on my desk in the middle of phone calls from some woman who can’t walk anymore and hasn’t been out of her apartment for a week and used to be a great hoofer and was in pictures but now can’t pay her medical bills and thinks the only appropriate thing to build at Ground Zero would be a reproduction of the ’39 World’s Fair. Instead of crying, I make withering comments about little old men who send in poems with titles like “The Angels of 911.” It passes the time. But hard-bitten cynicism leaves one feeling peevish, and too much of it can do lasting damage to your heart.

Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

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