I cry. I am a crier. Crying releases the anger and frustration. Crying gets the sad out, and it humbles me in a good way. In the aftermath of crying, I experience clarity of thought and a burst of productivity.
When I was much younger and needed a cry, I turned to books. “Beaches,” by Iris Rainer Dart, was a reliable go-to, as was “Where the Red Fern Grows.” There are plenty of people who rely on books for this kind of emotional release, and Goodreads is filled with recommendations in its “Listopia” section. “Causes of Ugly Crying” supplies more than 1,200 book suggestions, like “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Wonder” and “Little Women,” which I really should reread because chopping onions in an airless room cannot compete with the tear-duct trigger of (spoiler alert) Beth’s death.
But now when I need to cry, I grab my phone.
For the quickest, surest, most fulsome cry, I open my Twitter app and search for “military homecoming videos.” These are homemade smartphone clips, sometimes elaborately staged, that capture a raw moment of surprise experienced by an American who does not know that a family member who is in the military and stationed away from home is returning for a visit. If so-called promposals are merely touching, military homecomings pack a wallop.
“They’re the old Hallmark commercials of today,” said Mary Connelly, an executive producer of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” in its 15th year an old hand at the crying game. “There is nothing better than those, they’re money in the bank.”