Semiotics for the semi-neurotic, or, why you can’t cry at movies

On the analytics page of my website, there is this rather interesting little metric called “Top Searches.”

Briefly, it allows me to see the most common web searches that route people to my page.


Some of them are unexceptional – mostly various versions of my name: erin bernard, erin j. bernard, words on the run erin, etc., etc. (Why yes, I did see you do that! But don’t panic! I can’t tell who is searching for me and I wouldn’t want to try, because I know all too well how it smarts to be so unmasked. To wit: I’m pretty sure a guy I was seeing last year dumped me because of my compulsive Googling behaviors. I don’t have proof, just a litany of leading facts, namely: he called things off just a week after I spent this one really shameful and intriguing night in bed with my laptop, obsessively searching various combinations of his name and words like “marriage” and “divorce” after I came across an old Facebook photo in which he appeared to be wearing a wedding ring. He had a website. I’m fairly positive it had an analytics page. I’m also fairly positive all of those slightly Looney Tunes searches showed up in it. How effing embarrassing! So you see, I don’t judge you. Not too very much.)

One search, however, crops up over and over and over and over again, year after inscrutable year, and it is this: Why Can’t I Cry at Movies?

Or something to that close effect.


I wrote a blog a few years back pondering this very question, hence the ceaseless routing of all the world’s anonymous uncrying hordes to my website. In fact, if you Google “why can’t I cry at movies,” my website is the very first thing that pops up. Serious. Try it.

To summarize: I was wondering what it might be about my particular emotional makeup that prevents me from crying during highly emotional moments of films, especially considering how many other things reduce me regularly to tears of joy, love, sadness, hate and indifference:

“It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good cry as much as the next person. In fact, I am a big crier. A HUGE crier! I cry when I’m angry, I cry when I’m overwhelmed, I cry, sometimes even, when I’m merely bored. (Not kidding.)

But the brain is a lazy and selfish mechanism, and it’s as if my particular brain simply cannot abide the thought of crying for something or someone else. The pure self-indulgence of lying on my bed sniffling away over some half-tragic and decades-gone love affair strikes my brain as a totally a legit use of a Saturday afternoon. But when that emotionality is turned outward, my brain protests so noisily that the moment is inevitably ruined.”

But I digress. Because this essay isn’t about me. It’s about YOU PEOPLE! And here, my question to you, the common wheel: What in the world is going on? What is it about this particular psychic condition of being unable to cry during movies that is so vexatious to so many of you?

Do you, too, labor under the secret fear that, finally, there is just something totally fucking wrong with you way deep down? Or do you blame Hollywood for its tireless pimping and repackaging of dead archetypes? The whole thing smacks of a hooker under a hotel bed, if you ask me. So instead, I’m asking you.

Consider this an existential life raft of sorts. Just what the heck do you think is up with us? Write back, ok?



2 thoughts on “Semiotics for the semi-neurotic, or, why you can’t cry at movies

  1. LML says:

    Yes!! The orange with the face!! Haha!! I had totally forgotten about that. 🙂 or maybe =\ is more like it.

    I can’t comment on the not crying since I do cry at movies and cry at lots of things for various reasons. I’m interested to hear what you find out, though!

  2. Erik Andrulis says:

    “Just what the heck do you think is up with us?”

    I’m every person now and every person that ever existed. Because it’s hard to accept that and hard to discuss that, I keep thinking that I’m alone. I’m not alone; I’m the Universe. I’m you.

    Since I asked myself to write back.

Thoughts? Objections? Curiosities? Your comment gets mine!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s