CITY Magazine

The F Word: Laughing Through Tears

Frank De Blase Sep 5, 2018 4:00 AM

If you see me crying on the street, chances are I'm actually laughing. Yet when something is sad, I cry...then laugh. As an addendum to Parkinson's, I have developed pseudobulbar affect, or PBA. It makes me feel like crying all of the time. The only problem is that I'm rarely sad, if ever. But who wants to laugh constantly?

I slipped out last Thursday to Abilene to check out Ross Falzone with Erin Futterer, who set my heart a-flutterer. It was magic. It was Tin Pan Alley ensconced in velvet. It was a trip to the moon on gossamer wings. There was nothing weird on stage: just Falzone and his guitar next to Futterer, who was parked behind a piano brandishing a French Horn.

I was enchanted, entranced, entertained. But as the duo worked through its set, I felt the laughter coming on, which meant the tears weren't far behind. My face started to screw up, and the tears began. I'm fearful of this because concerned patrons ask why I'm crying, only to be rebuked with, "It's OK, this is how I laugh."

The problem has recently brought about situations which I can address from either side--laughing maniacally, or sobbing my eyes out. My wife caught me in front of the TV, wracked in sobs and giggles the other night. The fact that Trump is actually still the President, the passing of John McCain and Aretha Franklin--all of it came crashing down in a torrent of tears followed by laughter. Why? Because it all seemed so effing funny. I mean, what will you do when you read this? Will you laugh or cry? Somebody get me a tissue, please.