Save me from my obamotions
January 18, 2009 5:40 PM   Subscribe

How can I keep from crying or otherwise over-emoting on Tuesday at my son's fourth grade Inauguration celebration open house pot-luck?

My mother always said chewing on white bread could keep you from crying while chopping onions. But what will keep me safe from embarrassing my son and myself on Inauguration Day? Please don't say "Just stay home."

(But if you want to, you can say "Happy Birthday!")
posted by emhutchinson to Human Relations (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Oh geez. Just think about how the founders had a bleak view of human nature and would have counseled a healthy level of skepticism when a charismatic leader emerges.

(And happy birthday.)
posted by BobbyVan at 5:55 PM on January 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

How about remembering that he is just a politician and that the country won't automatically be OMGAWESOME on January 21st?
posted by youcancallmeal at 5:58 PM on January 18, 2009 [9 favorites]

I have a feeling you won't be the only one at the celebration who gets worked up over the events of the day. It's OKAY to be emotional about this one. If your son acts embarrassed - use it as a springboard for a discussion about why it's an important day/event.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:59 PM on January 18, 2009

Best answer: This morning I started thinking of all the loss of life due to the Bush/Cheney debacle, and the supreme court's decision in 2000... and I started crying. I think you will be in good company. This has been addressed before and I made note of it as I get be overly emotive as well.
Happy Birthday!
posted by readery at 6:03 PM on January 18, 2009

I 100% plan to not just tear up, but BAWL all day Tuesday, and in fact have been crying whenever I hear or see something Obama-related, for over a week (I'[ve stopped watching TV for this reason). I will be out at 8am at a neighborhood bar and I really don't care who sees me weeping. I've waited a long time for this.

THAT SAID - I find that biting my cheeks, looking upwards and taking really, really deep breaths, and pressing my tongue up against the roof of my mouth help *a little*. I can never keep it totally in check. Good luck.
posted by tristeza at 6:03 PM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just visualize the same date, 2 years hence, and you should be fine.
posted by dawson at 6:05 PM on January 18, 2009

And remember: in any other country he'd be a moderately centre-right pro-market pro-corporate ultra-establishment politician

Quoted for truth.

To avoid crying, remember that nothing has yet changed, remember all the people losing their jobs in the midst of "celebration." If you haven't lost a job, or are not in danger of losing one, focus on your good fortune and how you can help those who have not been so lucky. Start thinking in advance of Tuesday, and chant that list of things to yourself during the festivities.

Actually that might stave off "obamotions" but not crying. Just think of this as a new chapter in a very somber period in US history.
posted by vincele at 6:43 PM on January 18, 2009

I'll be trying not to cry at an event at work, so I feel your pain. Try having a bottle/glass of water in hand. Small sips when you start to well up give you a little cover and also make it hard to outright blubber.
posted by donnagirl at 7:00 PM on January 18, 2009

If it means a lot to you, then cry. Don't diminish something that is historic to you by watering it down with negative thoughts just to keep you from crying.

Also, watch inauguration stuff before hand, which will allow you to cry it all out before you get there in private.

Me? I am moved an inspired. I will cry all day.
posted by Vaike at 7:03 PM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Supposedly, the flesh between the base of the thumb and the hand is a pressure point that can help you control tears if you pinch it. Bring a tissue anyway. Even if you recognize that Obama might not turn water into wine, the Inauguration of an African-American is a huge deal. I may shed a few tears of joy at the end of the Bush-Cheney years, myself.
posted by theora55 at 7:05 PM on January 18, 2009

donnagirl's suggestion that you sip water is a good one. A related suggestion is to press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. I sometimes do this while rollin my eyes upwards to try and stave off the flow of tears. These methods are not guaranteed to work however. If you can't seem to physically overcome the urge to cry, don't worry too much about letting go a little. Other people might be crying as well. And even if crying does embarrass your son a bit, it might also be something he looks back on with some pride or warmth later on.
posted by inconsequentialist at 7:15 PM on January 18, 2009

...why would you want to stop yourself from crying? If you want to cry, for pity's sake, just go ahead and let yourself do so.

And before anyone else snarks at me about "but he's just a politician," I'm speaking from the perspective of "to thine own self be true", not necessarily from the perspective of "omg obama is awesome".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:33 PM on January 18, 2009

Mod note: a few comments removed - stay on topic and no one gets hurt/deleted, thank you!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:04 PM on January 18, 2009

Eat something very sour. It is extremely difficult to cry when puckering your mouth. Seriously.

Also, think about your taxes and all the waste in federal government -- regardless of which party is in power. Think about how friggin embarrassed your 4th grade son will be. Fourth grade boys, of which I have had two recently, do not take to well to mom crying at school. He will be dealing with it for the rest of his life. My friends and I still tease each other over things that happened at lunch in grade school. We remember when a mom came to drop off a hat or gloves that some kid left at home. Stay clam for the BOY! Be like a karate guy and cry on the inside.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:00 PM on January 18, 2009

Happy Birthday!
posted by KAS at 7:46 AM on January 19, 2009

To keep from crying, I pinch between my thumb and index finger if I can use both hands. If I want to be less obvious, I dig my fingernails into just about the same spot, or underneath my fingerails. It doesn't really hurt, it's just kind of uncomfortable.

You're probably going to have a bunch of 4th Graders running all around - you could corral them.

If you really, really need to cry, hold it off until you can get to the bathroom, cry a little and then go back to the group.
posted by KAS at 7:51 AM on January 19, 2009

Look up. I am not a medical professional but my guess is that it constricts the tear ducts in some way. Breathe, counting your breaths. Focus on something, whether it be a ceiling tile or the weird haircut of the guy in front of you. Pinch yourself.
posted by desjardins at 9:55 AM on January 19, 2009

Best answer: My methods for avoiding any display of emotion, refined through several years of speech and debate competitions:

Plan A: think about something that stirs the opposite emotion. Results can be uneven, especially in a case like yours where there is no clear antithesis.

Plan B: bite your cheek/pinch yourself with your fingernails. Hard. Pain has a way of overriding emotions. Works most of the time.

Last Resort: think of something that... how to put this delicately... "excites" you. Can be a bit distracting, but works even more reliably than the above.

Good luck, and happy birthday.
posted by Gotham at 10:24 AM on January 19, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks to all who responded. I will try looking up, pinching and biting my cheek, but I think the "go cry in the bathroom" advice might need employment as well. I know the tears of many others will be streaming and I fear a certain mass attack. As for embarrassing 4th graders, mine already knows what an emotional mom I am; I still choke up reading "The Runaway Bunny," etc. Last week was particularly difficult because every teacher for whom I subbed wanted me to read one MLK Jr. bio or another. Try making it through those with a dry eye.

When I worked at the polls on election day there was not a dry eye in the house, and we were still counting.

Have a lovely Inauguration Day, all.
posted by emhutchinson at 12:56 PM on January 19, 2009

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