"time management", character, competence, covey, ET Battle of Britain, Falklands War, leadership, machismo Ia Drang, manliness, mental health, service, seven habits, Stephen R Covey", three resolutions, values
I am a traditional male. Not metrosexual. Not a Hipster. Not any of the ‘new man’ alternatives that were designed by people who do not consider themselves ‘just’ men. Each to his own, but ‘my’ idea of a man is someone who’ll back you in a fight, not hang back questioning the morality and whether his hair will get ruffled or his nails scraped. That’s just me – I’m the same age as Jack Reacher, (The book one, not the telly one. There’s been some temporal fiddling going on there.) Not that I’d start the fight, but my criteria for manliness, old-fashioned as it is, is ‘would I be happy if he was my only back up in a scrap?’
But I do have a softer side, and this is the funny thing. I get teary. And this is my list of teary moments.
- The last scene in ‘Saving Private Ryan’, where a now elderly Ryan stands over the grave of Lt Tom Hanks and asks his family, “Am I a good man?” (Damn, here I go…….)
- The goodbye scene in the movie ‘E.T’. “I’ll be right heeeeeerrreeee.”
- Funerals. Anybody’s. I feel the sadness of a life gone by.
- My daughters’ births and weddings. I think that’s allowed.
- When other people cry on telly in a properly poignant moment. No idea why.
- When Mel Gibson, as Lt Col Hal Moore, weeps after the battle at Ia Drang in the film ‘We Were Soldiers’. Made more poignant because the real Hal Moore did exactly that after the actual battle, as he praised the bravery and sacrifice of his men on national TV. (I’m really struggling to see, now.)
- The end titles of ‘The Battle of Britain’. Music composer Ron Goodwin’s build-up of strings to brass as they list the losses brings home the sacrifice of young men a third of my age.
- ‘Marley and Me’. Can’t watch that.
- Artax sinking into the Swamp of Sadness in ‘Never Ending Story’. Moroder’s music did NOT help.
- And damn it all, the final scenes of the Bond film ‘No Time to Die’. I’ve known that man since I was 8. And using John Barry’s ‘We Have All The Time In The World’ over it was a killer. And I was in a public place, damnit!
I see no shame in a man crying. It shows some level of understanding and empathy with whatever is causing it. And it shows, I guess, that there is something within said man that underpins his willingness to fight for something that matters, if fighting is needed. If a man didn’t care, then he’d fight for the wrong reason – false, macho, hyped-up patriotism, for example.
I remember 1982. I watched the documentaries as the men left for the Falkland Islands. Singing, “We’re going to the Malvinas, we’re gonna kill a **** or two” at the top of their voices.
And I also saw the documentaries as they came back. Utter silence.
And I wept for their sacrifice – the sacrifice not only of their colleagues and their friends, but also the evident loss of innocence about combat.
Still do, occasionally.
Don’t be afraid to weep.