We live in an age of instant gratification. What someone is looking for–high thrills, clothes, money–may vary from person to person. I, and for many years now, have sought out the good cry. The feel-good stories that get you emotional REAL fast. 

I used to get my fix watching Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition. I’d sit back and watch a family that had 6 kids (2 of which were blind and the other 4 had no legs) get a brand-spankin’ new home because their roof was caving in because they went bankrupt paying for Jimmy’s new legs. Jimmy also had severe autism. It was prime-time emotional television and I loved it. They’d get these new homes, that despite ABC paying the entire mortgage, would cost the family roughly a million dollars a month in utilities. They did have an open-concept kitchen though, so that made everything worth it. As my drinking increased years ago, the episodes would get sadder and sadder as I somehow made the house about my own spiritual downfall. I’d whimper in unison with the martyr-moms while I subconsciously wondered who would save me from drowning in vodka. Ty never showed up and nobody moved my van to reveal a pimped-out hot tub. It was the most ridiculous pity-party you could imagine and it was tear-dropping fireworks every Sunday night at 8 o’clock. 

I’m genetically predisposed to such emotional behavior. My father is on the record for having cried through every Mighty Ducks movie and holds the record for the only living human to find a reason to cry through  the movie, Blank Check--the fabled story of a boy who reaps the benefits of a blank check. It’s in my blood, Jets. Runs real deep.

My last spontaneous cry happened during Wimbledon. I turned on the TV and realized I happened to be watching the final set. Within seconds it was match point and BAM, before I could realize what channel I was on, saw the winner drop to the ground in celebration. I immediately started to cry. I really felt it. All that hard work he put in, all those horrific two-a-days, and now WE won. It was a selfish cry but what cry isn’t, in some way, related to us? 

But this blog is inspired by my newest, and perhaps most egregious TV-induced crying trend. I’ve figured out how to get my fix. It’s like a drug dealer who conveniently drops by 3 times a week, at just the right time, with just the right amount of drugs. My fix: DVR and Undercover Boss. It’s wonderful and disgusting. It’s such an odd thing I’ve uncovered. It’s like telling everyone I’ve read a thousand books this summer but in reality, I’ve only read the last two pages of each one.

I DVRed an episode of Undercover Boss. It was the Cinnabon episode. I realized 2 minutes into the thing that I really didn’t care about how this lady rose to fame. This would for sure be practical information, and perhaps symbolizes my financial woes, but I was interested in only the ending. Who cried and what did the lady give the employees? 

So I come back later and fast-forward to the end. If you haven’t seen the show before, the boss sits the 3-4 employees down that he has “spied” on and tells them he/she has been working undercover. SHOCK-FACES ensue and then it gets real serious. The owner feels a sense of empathy for these poor saps and then bestows them with lots of gifts. The better the employee (or the more dramatic their background), the greater the payoff. So I’m playing detective now, trying to figure out who is the most deserving. The winner was this energetic Latino who SOMEHOW had always had an instrinsic lust for opening his own Cinnabon. I mean, this must be the dream of every immigrant right? To open a shop that sells gigantic, sugary treats? YEP. Jose (and I’m not sure if that was his real name because I was crying with him) gladly accepted the offer of opening his own shop. NO BACKGROUND NEEEDED or any business experience at all. He had performed well during the undercover time and was promptly granted the keys to the Cinnabon store of his dreams. CUE THE TEAR BUCKETS. 

And I get so mad when people don’t react with complete and utter gratitude. If they don’t cry or start to shake like they’ve got a demon inside them, I get real upset. You ungrateful bastards. This millionaire is trying to show the world he or she is generous and you just sit there and say, “Thank you?” No, no. That’s not how this works. You’re supposed to cry and initiate a really long hug that then gets the employer to cry also. You’ll never see this person again so you better hold on tight, Jose.

AH! I love it. Extreme Home Makeover kind of ended after Ty Pennington got arrested. I was real sad for that. Not for Ty but for my tear-less Sundays. I mean, it was running its course anyways because they ran out of pathetic families to build houses for. They were reduced to building houses for war vets WITH NORMAL KIDS! Thank you for your service but you do NOT get a fabulous house without having children that are allergic to light. So, Undercover Boss may be my new thing. It’s a good quick cry when you want to assume the hardships of somebody else and then join in on their day of redemption. It’s what TV is all about. It’s a secondhand lottery where we all win.