My mother cries reading the newspaper: a child kidnapped; a family saved from a fire by their dog. Etc. Some of my earliest memories are of her kneeling on the newspaper spread like a prayer rug on our shag carpet, with tears streaming down her cheeks. I didn’t yet understand why people wanted to read newspapers, seeing as they usually lacked bright drawings of bears with umbrellas. I also didn’t understand why newspapers could make people cry. I asked her. She’d tell me that Alison from Cheektowaga had been kidnapped and they just found her. Who’s Alison? Just this girl in the newspaper.
So I thought that perhaps my mother was crazy.
I’ve apparently inherited a milder form of this trait. Give me a story about everyone pulling together to save all passengers after a plane lands in the Hudson river, and the tears will start a-flowing. They just spring up, while reading about the lifeless woman that divers lifted onto a ferry or how everyone shared their clothes while waiting to be rescued. Not from happiness, not from sadness, they are their own entity, these newspaper tears.