Todays Croan is “You wanna cry? I’ll give you something to cry about.”
An old friend from the neighborhood mentioned how she knew peri-menopause was really messing with her because she cries now if someone yells at her. We both laughed because we were raised in a “No Cry Zone” section of the city. Crying = weakness and crying from emotional pain meant you should move on to another neighborhood and school system quick. The only person who got respect while crying was a drunk man because if his fuse was that lit, crazy violence couldn’t be far behind.
It’s funny now as I think of the ridiculous lengths the boys and men would go to prove they were tough. I’m talking pre-Scarface and the advent of Crips & Bloods, so the imaginative ways to express ones machismo included things like riding one’s motorcycle without a shirt or a helmet.
One summer afternoon when I was around 10 years old an impromptu tough-man contest started when my mother took a bite of a Hungarian hot pepper and said “Boy thats hot!” My older brother took a bite of the same pepper and said “That ain’t hot.” And they were off.
My brothers and the five or six neighborhood guys sitting around my mother’s kitchen wanted to see who could eat the biggest hottest pepper. No water. No bread. Eating bread to dull the burn meant the other guys would call you a pussy, so tears streaming down their faces they kept eating those banana peppers until finally one guy ran out the kitchen door and puked in my mothers roses.
They all must have needed something to cry for that day.