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1983

Tears

Jeff is sitting on the counter in the Children's Department, appearing to be sobbing, as Jodie walks in.  "Jeff?  Jeff?  What's the matter?" she asks.

"Oh, nothing," he replies, in a normal voice, and then returns to his sobs.

Muffy arrives, and is also concerned.  "Oh!  I heard you cry and came along to help you right whatever's wrong!" she says.

Jeff reassures her that nothing is wrong, and then goes back to sobbing again.  Muffy and Jodie are both confused about why he is crying.

Sam then arrives, ready to help Jeff.  "All right, all right, crying catfish!  Who did it, Jeff?  Who upset you?  Don't you worry, now.  I'm here, I'll fix it.  What's wrong?"

"Everything's just fine, Sam," says Jeff.  "Really!  Thanks."  And then he resumes his sobbing.

Sam is just as confused as Jodie and Muffy.  He checks with Jodie about what Jeff said, and Jodie confirms that he said that he's fine.

"Uh, Jeff," says Jodie, "we're your friends.  Isn't there something that we could do to help?"

As it turns out, Jeff was trying to cry.  When Sam inquires further, Jeff explains that he has never cried a real tear before, and wanted to see what it felt like.  Everyone chuckles briefly, and then Jodie explains that people typically cry when they're unhappy or upset about something, and that it's not something that you can just make yourself do.  She further explains that it comes from a feeling from inside of you.

"Feelings," says Jeff.  "I guess I don't have any."

"Well, of course you do," says Jodie.  "Sometimes you feel unhappy or sad or lonely because you can't leave the store, don't you?"

"Or miserable because you're bored," adds Muffy, "or hurt because you've been ignored?"

Sam adds, "And sometimes, don't you feel like singing just because you're happy?  Or maybe you're proud because you just learned something new?"

Jodie explains that those are feelings, and that everyone, including him, has feelings.  They begin to sing about how feelings are more than just tears, and that feelings come from inside.  They provide examples of when they're feeling down, and what then cheers them up again.  Jeff even has his own example, feeling like he gets special treatment on account of his being a mannequin, but then when he hears Sam say, "Jeff, you're getting in the way," he knows that he's the same as everyone else.

Down in the Computer Room, Sam is making a liverwurst and onion sandwich.  As he does this, he remarks to himself that Jeff would feel better if only he had a good cry.

"But, Mr. Crenshaw," remarks TXL, "I don't understand why anyone would want to cry.  It's so messy."

Sam explains, "Ah, messy.  Maybe for a machine.  But for a person, there's no sense in keeping your feelings all bottled up inside you.  Crying helps you to get it all out, you know?"  He then asks TXL if she has seen the liverwurst, but she has not.  He soon finds it.

TXL counters, "Well, if I cried, the water would rust my circuits.  Then I would be unable to tell you today's fairy tale."

Sam is glad that TXL is happy, as she tells the story.  The story is about a king who had two daughters: Kara, who was very strong and could ride like the wind, and Melissa, who played the harp at her window, to the enjoyment of the townspeople.  Then one summer, it never rained, causing the land to become dry, which caused the grass to turn brown, and the trees and crops to stop growing.  In addition, the wells went dry, as did the rivers.  That caused major problems for the kingdom, as there would be no food to eat and no water to drink.  When the townspeople came to the king for help, the king expressed defeat, and that he could not make it rain.  However, Princess Kara refused to give up hope, riding out on her horse into a large field and challenging the sky to a battle in order to get rain.  This angered the sky, with dark clouds building and lots of thunder and lightning.  Kara battled the sky for hours, but couldn't get it to rain.  Then Princess Melissa arrived with her harp, and tried her hand with the sky.  Melissa played a sad song for the sky, which caused the sky to begin crying, bringing rain to the kingdom.

By the time that the story is over, Sam is in tears.  TXL questions why Sam is crying, because the story had a happy ending.  Sam explains that the story isn't what did it, but rather the onions that he is peeling.  That gives Sam and idea about how to help Jeff.

Back in the Children's Department, Sam is smelling a pile of sliced onions.  He invites Jeff to join him, and suggests that he breathe deeply.  Jeff isn't feeling anything, while both Sam and Muffy's eyes are watering.  Jodie walks in and questions what is going on.  Sam explains that he was trying to help Jeff cry with the onions.

"Onions?" Jodie asks, with a smile.  "Sam, that's ridiculous!  Onions can make your eyes water, but those aren't real tears.  To get those, you have to be feeling something, maybe unhappy or upset.  Then you'll cry real tears."

Sam agrees.  "How upset can you get about an onion, I guess."

"I guess I've got a lot to learn about crying," says Jeff.  He then walks away.

Everyone notices this.  Muffy whispers, "It's not like Jeff to walk away.  He's been acting strange all day!"

Jodie agrees, and goes off to check on Jeff.  She also asks that Sam get rid of the onions.

As Jodie leaves, Sam turns to Muffy and asks, "Could I interest you in a liverwurst and onion sandwich, perhaps?"  Muffy declines.

Later, as Jodie returns to the Children's Department, she finds Sam and Muffy, apparently crying, remarking through sobs about who can cry better than the other.  When Jodie asks what is going on, Sam immediately stops crying, and asks if she found Jeff.  Jodie had not found him, explaining that she was about to head to the roof to check, but she heard all of the noise.

"We were just having a crying contest," explains Muffy, "to see which one of us cries best!"

Jodie is amused.  "A crying contest?  I don't believe it!"

Sam explains that sometimes an actor on the stage has to pretend to cry in a sad play, and that he was showing Muffy how to do it.  Muffy then suggests that if they had a scene to act, she would be able to cry better than Sam.

Jodie asks us if we want to see how well Sam and Muffy can cry.  We do.  Jodie gives Muffy her prompt first.  A letter has arrived in the mail containing bad news.  She is so upset that she starts crying and refuses to open the letter.  Muffy acts it out in dramatic fashion, and gets applause and laughter from Jodie.  Jodie gives Sam his prompt next, handing him a donut that she had been saving for a snack.  While Sam initially thinks that this will be fun, Jodie, in explaining the prompt, tells him that he is holding the last donut on Earth.  Sam acts it out in dramatic fashion as well, lamenting all of the things that he will never experience again, telling the donut that he will not eat it, and pledging to put it in a museum so that everyone can see how happy the world was when donuts were part of it.  Jodie compliments Sam on his performance, remarking that he really sounded unhappy.

"Yeah, I'm glad I was only acting," remarked Sam, "because now I can eat the donut!"  Much to his surprise, Sam discovers that his donut has a big bite taken out of it.  He turns to Muffy and asks, "What happened to my donut, Muffy?" as Muffy whistles.

"Oh," she says, "your acting was so good today, I had to eat it right away.  While you did cry and moan and wail, your donut, it was growing stale!"

Later, Jodie, looking for Jeff, comes up to the roof.  She finds Jeff sitting on a piece of machinery, staring at the stars.  She asks Jeff if he's all right, and Jeff responds that he likes it up on the roof, because he can see the sky and feel the wind on his face.

"Yeah, but," replies Jodie, "still, it must get awfully lonely having to stay in the department store all the time.  Maybe you would have been happier if Waldo hadn't given you that magic hat."

"Oh, well," says Jeff, "sometimes I get lonely, but without the magic hat, I couldn't learn anything or sing and dance, and play with Sam and Muffy.  If I was a mannequin again, you couldn't be my friend.  And that would make me sad."

"Me, too," says Jodie.  "I'm really glad you're my friend."  She and Jeff then sing a song about why they're glad to have each other.

Meanwhile, Muffy is in her house trying to come up with a plan to make Jeff cry.  She eventually decides to make Jeff laugh so hard that he cries.  She needs some help for this plan, so she goes off in search of Sam.  However, on her way out, she hits her head on her door, remarking, "While Jeff may not have cried before, I cry each time I hit this door!"  She then leaves her house, after some difficulty.

Jeff is back in the Children's Department, and explains that Jodie told him that you can cry if you're really sad.  Thus he is going to close his eyes and think of something sad.  As Jeff sits on a stool thinking about sad things, Sam and Muffy come in carrying peacock feathers.  Their plan is to tickle him with the feathers.  They tickle Jeff, and he laughs, waving his hands in front of him as if to bat away the feathers.  He looks up, but Sam and Muffy have gone below the counter again, and so, seeing nothing, returns to his original plan of thinking sad thoughts.  Sam and Muffy tickle him and hide again, leading to the same result.

Sam is impressed with Muffy's plan, remarking, "Laughing leprechauns, your plan is working perfectly, Muffy!  This time, we'll tickle him 'til he cries with laughter!"  However, when they start tickling him again, Jeff knocks off his magic hat, turning into a mannequin.

"Drat, drat, and double drat!" says Muffy.  "Foiled by the magic hat!"

Jodie comes in, asking what everyone is up to this time.  Sam and Muffy hem and haw as Jodie picks Jeff's hat up off of the floor and returns it to his head, telling them that it will have to wait until they say the magic words.

"What happened?" asks Jeff.

"Well, that's what I'm trying to find out," says Jodie, as she turns towards Sam and Muffy.  "Well?"

"Oh, it was my plan, I won't deny.  But we were just trying to make Jeff cry!" explains Muffy.  Sam adds that they were going to tickle him until he laughed so hard that he cried.  Jeff is appreciative, but disappointed that it didn't work.

"Onions?  Now feathers?  What am I going to do with the two of you?" asks Jodie.

"Oh," says Muffy, "we could both say that we were sorry.  Then you could read us all a story!"

Sam knows exactly what story to read, taking an orange book from the counter.  When Jeff opens it, Sam remarks, "Oh, no, look at that.  It's got little black things all over it!"  After Muffy reacts, Sam explains that they're musical notes, and that they are supposed to be there.

Jodie explains that it's a story that you sing.  The story, titled The Magic Bird, is about a little boy that didn't have any friends.  In it, the boy meets a magical bird that had broken a wing.  The boy nursed the bird back to health, and the two of them became great friends.  One day, however, the bird had to leave the boy, as her home is over the rainbow, and that is where she is needed.  She promised that she would provide him friends of his own by way of her magic, and then flew away, leaving the boy heartbroken.

As the story ends, Jeff is in tears.  After Jodie brings the fact that he is crying to his attention, he is overjoyed, because now he can cry just like everyone else.  He gives Jodie a big hug.  Sam and Muffy both congratulate Jeff on his accomplishment through tears of their own.  "Jeff is really quite a sight.  Crying eyes and a smile so bright!" says Muffy.

"That's me!" says Jeff.  He sings about his accomplishment, knowing that he has feelings, and that he is able to cry.

Sam takes the song to a more emphatic conclusion than most, to everyone else's amusement.  As everyone laughs, he sheepishly remarks, "I was just trying to feel it.  Oh, boy..."

Quizzes:

  • Here is a little mouse.  Does it look happy or sad?  (It looks sad)  What about her friend?  Does she feel sad?  (She is very happy)  We then see why the mice feel the way that they do, as the happy mouse is sitting on a large pile of cheese, while the sad mouse only has a single piece.
  • Can you guess what instrument is playing such beautiful music?  (A harp)
  • A girl has a very large ice cream cone.  Is her face happy or sad?  (Happy)  The ice cream then falls off of the cone, and the girl's face changes from happy to sad.
  • Here is a little boy with a big balloon.  The balloon pops.  What do you think the little boy is doing: smiling, or crying?  (Crying)  How could we make the boy smile again?  (Another balloon)
  • There is a baby hidden in this picture.  Can you find it?

Nursery rhyme:

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