Thoughts From an Englishman Vol. 1

Guest posting for is Thomas Gordon Washburn.  Currently residing in London England, I felt Tom could provide a fresh look at the everyday sights and sounds of life.  Enjoy and look forward to more from Tom.

Though honoured to have been asked to contribute in a small way to this website, I have been faced with the overwhelming pressure of coming up with a subject of discourse.  I’ve come to discover this is no easy feat.   However, as I find myself now sitting down, not 30 minutes from sobbing at the site while watching a young boy and his father kick around a ball separated by 20 feet and a flimsy garden fence, I can’t think of anything more appropriate to write about.  

I suppose I should explain.

These last two weeks have apparently been an extremely emotional time for me.  I say apparently simply because I have been reduced to a weeping idiot on 4 occasions in the last 14 days and have been unable to explain why, until now.  I can’t recall the last time I’ve shed a tear prior to this utterly confusing spell.  It is these past 2 weeks and my understanding of them I wish to share.  These 4 incidents and their respective interpretations, as I see them of course, are as follows:

#1  Tears while watching a romantic comedy.  I have no explanation here, I simply can’t help it.  I’ve watched the movie countless times, as it has become one of my two “Sunday morning” movies.  I know it well enough that I could probably recite lines verbatim from the next room while getting drinks for my guests as they happen to stumble upon it while looking for the Jays game.  Like one of Pavlov’s pups, I always shed tears during one specific scene at the end of the film.  I expect it affects at least 90% of men who have seen the movie in its entirety.  As such, I didn’t think twice about letting a couple drops escape, nor should my guests.

#2  A moment of weakness at work.  I can fully explain this one.  Because of the nature of my profession, I am no stranger to emotion-filled occurrences.  In fact, on any given day I see no less than five people break down in unrecognizable heaps of their once stoic frames.  With that said, I figure everyone is entitled to a one-off, myself not excluded.  I simply trusted that everyone else would offer the same compassion I do in similar situations.  Basically, divert eye contact, look busy, and never make reference to it during social settings.

#3  I proposed to my girlfriend of 2.5 years this past weekend.  I’m also writing this unrestrained expression of sentiment off for a number of reasons.  First, I have never proposed before and therefore have absolutely no way to prepare for the onslaught of emotions affiliated with a question of that nature.  That and the lack of sleep I garnered the night before made it inevitable.  Also, I’ve just found out that I have a partially blocked tear duct in my right eye (not a word of a lie), a symptom of which, I recently found out, is an excessively watery eye.  

#4  Today’s father-son bonding session which I was an uninvited and hopefully inconspicuous participant.  I have no excuse for this.  This debacle was the basis for writing this piece, remember?

So, as I stood there, holding on to my dignity as well as the chain links of that fence for balance, I knew something was up.  I mean my 2 weeks went from an embarrassing slip during what some uneducated movie critics wrongfully label a chick flick to a borderline illegal, certainly a creepy and worrisome, moment on a garden path.  So, I sauntered home, sat down on my couch, mulled things over for a time and suddenly everything made sense.  I cannot be blamed.  This has everything to do with him.  It’s his fault, he started it.  And I love him all the more for it.

Kevin Costner.  Specifically, Kevin Costner’s fictional character Roy McAvoy in the movie Tin Cup.  

Like I said earlier, I suppose the movie could be considered a romantic comedy, but to those who revere the film as much as I do know that it is much, much more than that.  It is a movie that targets and personally challenges men as individuals; one that forces them to look inside and examine their faults and weaknesses, areas of precision and skill, relationships with friends, with significant others, and the unattainable.  It is a movie that every man can relate to.  Doing what it takes to win the affection of a woman.  That one woman.  All the while based around one game.  That one game.  It’s a coming of age tale.   And though it’s a full length, 135 minute test of emotional endurance, it is the brief 8 minute battle between sensibility vs. ego that depicts the spirit of resilience the likes of which I have never seen displayed so eloquently in print, media, or otherwise.  And though I know the movie inside and out, that one scene still elicits every emotion I have ever felt in one lifetime, as well as some I would be hard pressed to put a name to, and compresses them into a blink of an eye, which has me fighting to restrain myself.  And if that’s not bad enough, the dialogue immediately following between the once unattainable figure and the successful but utterly self-destructed man is… well it’s wonderfully indescribable.  

Phew.  A bit overdramatic you say?  I couldn’t disagree with you more.  And I will defend this, tooth and nail.  

So, in closing, I am happy to say that I consider myself neither a pantywaist, nor a pedo, simply a man drawn to an extraordinary performance by an extraordinary actor in an extraordinary movie and have borne it’s personally enduring effects.  And for this, I am truly relieved.

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