Thursday, 27 August 2015

Mustering-up empathy

All the talk about hedonism yesterday - or the day before - produced some interesting snippets, including how alcohol drinkers tolerate chemotherapy better than tee-totallers.

I remember when my father was on his last legs, he would sit upright in bed with his eyes shut, saying that if it were not for the pills he was taking, he would feel fine, but they were making him very nauseous.

They were some sort of opiate pain-killer, and many people react badly to opiates. Occasionally, I have taken high-strength codeine and, after the first wave of nausea, they make me feel great. It isn't so much that they take the pain away, more like they make it not matter so much. I wouldn't have minded using them for recreational purposes, but that's a down-hill route to take.

Heroin users describe the feeling as like being wrapped in cotton wool - protected like a precious Faberge egg. I can imagine that the one thing which street-dwellers never really experience like we who tend to take being cared for for granted, is the feeling that someone, somewhere, regards us as precious and wants to protect us. No wonder heroin is the drug of choice.

What would you think of if you wanted to weep at will - say, if you were onstage playing the part of someone recently bereaved?

For me it is the image of a grossly obese man, locked in a room and crying like a baby because he has been denied food.

This does it every time for me. I have moist eyes now just thinking about it.

16 comments:

  1. I feel deep pain for the lost and downtrodden, but, I do not cry. I don't know why. It is embarrassing sometime. I have cried in my lifetime, when younger, but I can't remember the last time I cried. There is a line, not exact here, from Aeschylus, about pain that does often lie too deep for tears.

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    1. That quote is Wordsworth's I believe on thinking about it. Aeschylus talked about the pain that never sleeps. It's awful getting old. My memory isn't what it used to be.

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  2. I hardly ever cry. I cried when the news was broken to me by P that our friend was killed in the last lap of the last race at the TT races in 2007 and I cried last night when I heard on the radio people talking while leaving flowers at the side of the road at the scene of the Shoreham air crash.

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  3. Death, funerals; nothing much else does it.

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    1. and watching 'Goodnight Mr Tom'.

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    2. When my mother was on stage she could make herself cry instantly. Unfortunately I never asked her about her method.

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  4. I have watched the film Shadow-lands eighteen times and it gets to me every time. I start coughing and try to compose myself. It never works of course!

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  5. How judge mental of me, but I do not find the hedonistic fat man worth my sympathy. I weep for pain and abuse perpetrated on innocent children.

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    1. And I rage at google, that arrogantly changes judgmental to judge mental,

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  6. I can't really say what makes me cry but I am often reduced to tears - often sick children on T V News programmes make me cry. Much of life seems so unfair - those very young children on boat loads of immigrants in the Med - they look so bewildered.

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  7. Lately almost anything can make me weep. Just last week at work a little girl couldn't find her mom, and I had to page the woman over the intercom twice before she finally appeared. The child ran to her and burst into tears, and my eyes started welling up. Then the other day a customer was looking for a book for her neighbor who is going through chemotherapy. The sick lady has no family nearby and the neighbor has been taking her to all of her appointments and bringing her meals when she's too sick to cook....listening to the story made me choke up and I was terribly embarrassed and had to go to the bathroom to collect myself. I hate getting emotional like that at work.

    And good God, don't even get me started on reading about shelter animals that need homes. I had to unfollow the local humane society Web pages because stories about unwanted and/or abused animals break my heart.

    I seem to be getting worse and worse the older I get.

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    1. Thank goodness there is someone as weepy as me.I was riding ( my pony) past a cemetery where a funeral was taking place and I had tears at that. I did not even know who's funeral it was!

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  8. I find myself in the same boat as Jennifer. Lots of things that I may have in the past considered touching now make the waterworks start.

    As for crying on command because I were playing a part in a play, it would depend. Sometimes, hormones make it much easier to cry at the drop of a hat. Other times, if i think of loved ones who are pushing up daisies. Of how they cannot see me on stage at this moment, making an ass of myself and something we could laugh about afterwards or how i cannot phone them up to let them know how it went.

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  9. I seem to be getting more emotional and teary the older I get. My Dad was terrible... he would have tears streaming down his face from the words of a poem or from beautiful scenery or family reunions ...

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  10. I tell you a trick from actors, Tom (yes, I once thought of it as a career, but then stayed with amateur theatre) - just make your chin quiver and clap your lids quickly - it works always for me!

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  11. Thanks for all those comments. I don't think they need any reaction from me.

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