Arête

You got to fill out a form first
and then you wait in the line

—Paul Simon

So that’s that. I changed my political affiliation. I’d held the same registration for fifty-five years, but it just wasn’t me anymore, if it ever was.

Now I want to change my ethnicity. I no longer am content to be a mix of German-Welch. I want to be Italian. That way, nobody will say anything when I cry in public.

In one of my early sales jobs, I called on an Italian immigrant businessman. He invited me in and we ate bread and drank wine. If he liked what we were talking about, he laughed. If he didn’t, he cried-serious sobs, big tears. Scared the bejeesus out of me at the time. I would join him now, no problem .

I try hard not to cry, but I do and it mortifies me. I’ve spoken at two funerals, my little sister’s, and at the passing of a dear friend. I sobbed as much as spoke. I could not get the words of my vows out without blubbering at Cindy’s and my wedding 25 years ago. I’m awful.  If I was an Italian, I could do weddings and funerals with alacrity. Actually enjoy the tears.

Where did we get this idea that grown men don’t cry? The Brits, maybe. I do know this- Hemingway screwed me with his machismo bullshit.

Whoever said laughter is the best medicine had it wrong. Women know: the real deal is a good cry. Basketball great, James Valvano (Jimmy V, Italian, of course),when he was dying of cancer, said, “Nothing’s changed! I do the same thing every day. Every day you have to do three things: you have to laugh, you have to think, and you have to cry. You do those three things, you’ve had a good day!”

Kitto declares: Thus the hero of the Odyssey is a great fighter, a wily schemer, a ready speaker, a man of stout heart and broad wisdom who knows he must endure without too much complaining what the gods send; and he can build and sail a boat, drive a furrow as straight as anyone, beat a young braggart at throwing a discus, challenge the Phaeacian youth at boxing, wrestling or running; flay, skin, cut up and cook an ox, and be moved to tears by a song. He is, in fact, an excellent all-rounder; he has surpassing arête.

We guys do everything Kitto talks about well, except allow our emotions to flow unchecked. Such a shame.

Ciao, bella. Ti voglio bene,

Giancarlo

 

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