Anthony will be a presenter in the upcoming Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing ACB Virtual Exhibit Booth event happening July 12 13. Watch for upcoming information.
And now, today’s post.
For Crying Out Loud
By Tony Candela
Sometime in the ‘90s I vaguely began to notice a new fad in human vocalization. I will call it the extended “woo”. I’ve not seen this discussed anywhere, but it became and remains ubiquitous in American culture. It is a cheer, a sound of satisfaction or congratulations. We have all heard it and probably engaged in the extended “woo” on occasion. It began innocuously enough, a short “woo”, but gradually got longer, louder, and higher pitched as time went on.
In the early 2000s, use of another vocalization, almost exclusively by women and only occasionally by men, became vogue. I will call it the “cracking voice” vocalization. I admit up front that this vocalization makes me uncomfortable. It is the opening salvo of crying, the slipping of the speaking voice from solidity into a quavering and higher-pitched sequence of words and short gasps for air. This usually precedes full-fledged crying, but in the case of the cracking voice vocalization, speech continues in an emotional and quavering fashion for the duration of the individual’s utterance.
The act of crying is emotionally captivating. It was probably designed into the human repertoire and that of other animals to get parents to attend to their babies. It pretty much gets the attention of anyone who hears another cry. I am reasonably certain that my aversion to this vocalization stems from a feeling of being emotionally manipulated as my heart almost automatically goes out to the one engaging in the cracking voice vocalization, even when I disagree with or don’t care about what they are saying.
Lately it seems that almost every woman in distress who has a bully pulpit, say, an interview by a news reporter on TV, begins her soliloquy with the cracking voice in gear. This appears to be a socially trained style, much as the extended “woo”. It may be the result of evolution, a counter to male indifference, something I am sure women have had to deal with since the beginning of time. They have had to figure out all sorts of ways to get the male of the species to be more attentive and, heaven forbid, emotionally connected. Well, I am here to tell you that it works!
However, there may be a down side. I suspect what happens to me and a lot of men when we hear the cracking voice vocalization is a tendency to freeze as we fight against the “captivation”. I for one feel a twinge of anger because I know what is happening to me. Unfortunately, I generally also know why the person is impelled into using the cracking voice vocalization to begin with. It is usually something quite upsetting like the death of a loved-one or an unjust act of society. This creates pyrrhic victories for those who use the cracking voice vocalization. Even if the person is correct in what she is unhappy or distressed about, her use of the cracking voice tends to cause me to become even more emotionally confused than I may already be. They win and they lose. Yes, attention is being paid; no, my empathy is not fully with them. Perhaps this is enough.
Just the other day I passed a woman pleading for money on a sidewalk in New York City where I live. I had some pocket change which I gave her, but not before I asked her to please stop crying as it makes me uncomfortable. She apologized saying that she was embarrassed to have to ask for money and how bad she felt. I nodded, placed the money in her hand and walked on.
Crying is more prolific in women than men. The articles I’ve read put the focus on the hormone prolactin. Testosterone, on the other hand, tends to inhibit crying and thus we have come full-circle. I have noticed that crying seems to be a stress-reliever and some research bears this out. As for me, the older I get and perhaps the less testosterone I have running through my veins, the more I cry. As with many men, I tend to tear-up over happy events, like the Yankees winning a baseball game or the guy getting the girl or the child being saved in a movie. My dad and I cried together a few times in my life, once by phone when I told him I was accepted into a doctoral program and once when my family and I learned my brother Lenny had awakened from a coma brought on by encephalitis. I conclude this piece with an excerpt from my memoir describing that event.
“When not at Lenny’s bedside, we sat at home—my mother crying, my father angry, and my youngest brother Joseph seemingly too young to be aware of the gravity of the situation. I held on, saying to myself, “Don’t get emotional until you have to. Save your strength.” All the while, I wondered whether the snowball I had thrown at Lenny or some other snow he had ingested might have caused this catastrophe.
On Christmas Eve morning, we began taking down the decorated tree in our living room. Then the phone rang. My mother sobbed while my father answered it. “It’s over,” I said to myself, darkness descending over me.
In a moment, my father turned from the phone and announced, “He’s awake, hungry, and asking for us!” As we clutched each other with tears gushing, I found myself believing once again in a God that, only a few days before, I had given up on for having forsaken my family.”
(As I write this, tears are welling up, but I promise not to engage in the cracking voice vocalization!)
Anthony R. Candela, Author
Saying aloud what should not remain silent.
Stand Up Or Sit Out: Memories and Musings Of a Blind Wrestler, Runner, and All-around Regular Guy
A memoir about life lessons learned, especially through sports
Vision Dreams: A Parable
A sci-fi novella about how a dysfunctional society forces people to go to extremes, including four blind people who seek out artificial vision.
Christian Faith Publishing, 2019
Tony Candela has worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor, supervisor, manager consultant and administrator for more than 40 years in the field of blindness and visual impairment. His work has included promoting literacy and employment of blind persons and a special interest in enhancing the career preparation of blind persons who wish to work in the computer science field. He is a “retired” athlete, loves movies, sports, reading, writing, and music, including dabbling in guitar. Read more at