The Crying Test

Good evening.  What follows is a ghastly gaze into the mind of a troubled narcissist with a penchant for masturbatory fantasies of 1970's-inspired guitar solos and a thirst for imaginary applause from crowds of 1960's mobs of hysterical, Beatlemaniacal women.  The anachronism between the musical genre with which my guitar solo is identified and my female crowd should further emphasize the extent of my bombast; this is going to get ugly.  Also, anyone who doesn't like it can, to quote Eddie Murphy quoting his dad in Delirious, "Get the fuck out."  So, please, if you possess neither the nerve nor the stomach to tolerate and understand this very honest specimen of my admittedly common thought process, there's still time to escape.  


For the rest of you, welcome.  You're here because you're honest enough to admit, at least to yourselves, that you're as vain as I am and, in a way, you take pride even in that because you're convinced that your brutal honesty sets you apart from all those other falsely humble people who refuse to come to grips with their egos - and who am I to tell you otherwise?  One last note, this confession is sponsored by the same people who brought you the Self-Aggrandizing Funeral Fantasy.


(It’s really not as bad as it sounds.  It’s just your run-of-the-mill, Princess Diana type of service, with Bill Clinton playing “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” on the sax, a procession of grief-stricken, overweight ex-girlfriends clutching framed portraits of me and a cabal of future, grown-up sons, cloaked in military regalia, firing rifles into the air).


I must emphasize that I can make myself cry on command.  I do this, not by dwelling on any sorrowful subjects, global human hardship or even on my own sources of sadness, but strictly by indulging in the following fantasy: When listening to a song of which I'm particularly fond, I fantasize that I wrote it and then visualize people I know praising me for my creative genius when I play them the song.  This makes me cry.  


In a central processing hub located in my brain, a message forms.  The message activates another part of my brain that is involved in witnessing graduation ceremonies, weddings and watching The Land Before Time.  This newly activated region of my brain tells my eyes to secrete a briny fluid that floods my eyes and rolls down my cheeks.  Due to the absence of a graduation ceremony, wedding or a screening of The Land Before Time, I look like I'm fucking insane.


Sometimes I just imagine people responding to my work in total speechlessness and that’s enough to get the job done right there.  Other times, I have to go through the rigamarole of an entire imaginary conversation involving exclamations like, “How do you come up with this stuff?” and subequent, surprisingly banal, responses detailing my “method” to summon those sweet tears.   


A variation of this fantasy substitutes the more obvious reactions of large, ecstatic crowds for those of my family and close friends.  This manifestation of the fantasy can at times, I admit, be tedious and embarassing even for me due to its clichéd quality but it is largely rewarding when you get to pretend that you’re someone like Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo performing the song, “Gut Feeling,” in 1979 (it’s just so powerful - I can feel the tears welling up just writing about it).  On a side note, this is one of my favorite songs to mentally perform, either as myself or as Mothersbaugh, so if any of my readers has the wherewithal to help me fulfill this fantasy, please contact me at once.  I can play the keyboard and I’m as angry and nerdy as Mothersbaugh so it should work, assuming you own all the necessary equipment and that you’re willing to dedicate its use to exalting my ego.

You may ask why, why would I bother honing such a bizarre skill?  I mean, yes, I could potentially discover that I have this ability by sheer accident.  Chances are, if one thinks actively enough about anything, one would eventually arrive at this phenomenon.  But why continue to make oneself cry, especially by such odd methods?  The answer, obviously, is in order to feel, I want to feel something - and feel I do when those magnificent tears fill my eyes.  It's a rush whose prowess exceeds that which is conventionally attained by drug use by orders of magnitude; no comparison.  

But what began rather innocently as a skill that I discovered accidentally and used merely to entertain myself in dull moments has in recent years developed into a barometric device that I employ constantly in measuring the quality of music that I encounter.  No musician is spared from the cold, cruel gaze of The Crying Test.  Not The Beatles, not The Smiths, not Black Sabbath - hell, not even J. S. Bach.  All must submit to the rigors of my imagination; all are at the mercy of my tear ducts.

I've become so adept at this practice that I can now skip the fantasy component and get right to the weeping phase.  I can, for instance, turn on Luis Bacalov's 1966 English version of the song "Django" and, by pretending that I wrote the song, proceed to drown myself in an ocean of tears.  This song is a fucking Disneyland for narcissistic crying, by the way.

I don't want to toot my own horn but, since I've already pushed the limits of narcissism pretty much as far as they will go, I will say that my method seems to me to be as accurate and effective an approach to the critique of music as displayed by any music critic whose reviews I've ever read.  If it makes me cry, it's good; if it doesn't, it might be back to the drawing board for that particular musician (see: Joanna Newsom).  

I welcome you to exploit my gift for your own benefit.  If you are a musician, please feel free to send me samples of your work and we shall then see where on the spectrum of musical talent you reside.  However, I must warn you that this test is not for the faint of heart.  Only engage me if you are prepared to learn the truth, for the tears do not lie.