On Friday Night Lights

Introduction: A Friday Night Lights Companion

By Will Leitch

As a rule, I am a composed, stoic person, constitutionally hard-wired to keep my emotions to myself. This is a byproduct of growing up in the Midwest, I suspect. It’s not that showing emotion is a sign of weakness among my family in Central Illinois; it’s just considered unnecessary, a distraction, too much fuss. If you have a problem, you keep it to yourself, and you get over it. This is not always the most healthy way to live one’s life. Lord knows I’ve witnessed enough Thanksgiving blowups to know that eventually, inevitably, the tightly wound coils snap. But it’s the way I was raised, and that’s the way I’m always going to be. Say what you will, but it works for me.

And particularly: I do not cry. The last time I cried, it was 1982. I was six, I’d fallen off my bike into a pile of gravel, and I sprinted home to my mother. She took me into the bathroom, poured rubbing alcohol on my bleeding knee, wiped my face with a towel, and told me to knock it off. “Crying won’t heal your knee faster,” she said, smiling but firm. “And crying lets your knee win.” I don’t remember crying after that, not even at my grandmother’s funeral six years ago. I was sad. But I didn’t cry. I saw my dad cry once, at his father-in-law’s funeral. We followed behind the hearse in silence, and then, suddenly, he burst into a crazed, explosive two-second wail. He  …

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