If You’ve Got the Issues, I’ve Got the Tissues

This title is not original. In fact, it is an expression that has been around for a long time. I think the title is negative in tone. It mocks crying. It mocks tissues. Tissues are sacred. They shouldn’t be mocked. I buy a case of them, good quality, 16 or 24 boxes, all wrapped in plastic. I carry them into my office every year or so. Each box is unwrapped and stacked on a shelf. They are just paper goods, housed in cardboard boxes. Then I put a box of tissues into one of my assorted tissue holders. I load them up, solemnly, preparing for the day ahead.

I think about these paper goods. I often say a prayer asking for help in trying to free people of their sadness, pain, and misery. You see, these lifeless pieces of paper will receive people’s tears, snot, drool, and anguish. They will become wet with people’s pain. They become heavy with people’s childhood hurt. They become soggy with the sadness over wanting a divorce, or the sadness of not wanting a divorce. Sometimes people are scared and cry silent tears. When somebody dies, we go through five tissues, or ten tissues. Or more…

[Editor’s Note: This will really make people who are reluctant to try therapy come knocking on Dr. Gore’s doors. Nice marketing job, Doc.]

Often, somebody apologizes, “I never cry like this,” or “This is so embarrassing,” or “I am so sorry about using so many of your tissues.” Sometimes, people cry and wipe their nose on their sleeve. Or, in one of my least favorite Southern Moves, a person, almost exclusively a female-type, will do this exaggerated fanning of her hands, trying to dry away the tears before they roll down her cheeks.

I say, “I have these tissues here for a reason,” or “There is a reason I have six boxes of tissues in this room,” or “For what I am charging you, you can have as many tissues as you need.” Sometimes they laugh/cry in a sort of joy/pain and the tears flow more freely.

Pain pours out into the tissues. The tissues then go into the garbage can. And on Thursday nights these cans get emptied. And it is spiritual. These paper goods, these garbage cans, my cleaning person, they all conspire to wick away hurt, pain, and sadness.

And then we meet again.

Some people ask, “When will I stop crying?” I say, “You will cry until you are done crying.” They wonder, “Will I ever stop crying?” I promise, “Yes.” And then I say, “There… take another tissue. I’ve got plenty.”