Suffering from periodic depressions (never mind whether they are biochemical or circumstantial in nature – probably both), I’m not the only sometime-poet who has penned the the hyperbolic cliche of drowning in one’s own tears (or such to similiar effect; never mind that I can’t think of any other authors who have written it – feel free to elaborate the point, but it’s not what I’m writing to ask about).
Well, this morbid illustration of a man (or woman) drowning in his own tears lead me towards a whole line of questions which I was hoping you (or someone) might help me out with. For examples, how many tears (numerically) does the average person shed during his or her lifetime? Or how about the extremely depressed person? And how many gallons (or liters) is this many tear drops equivalent to? Could someone conceivably drown in this many tears without having a second person forcibly submerging his or her head? And if one person could not shed enough tears, how many people would have to cry for enough tears to be shed? Would this exceed the number of people currently living? And then what happens to all these numbers when you start to consider evaporation?
While I am sure there is no reliable estimate on average tears per person, I am equally sure that most everyone shed enough to make a tiny puddle, which is all that you need. SOme people have drowned because their face was slightly tilted down, they could not move, and…
You get the rest, right? It happens to soldiers at time. Man gets wounded and can’t move.
Man/woman is horribly depressed, goes to drink him/herself into a stupor. Overdrinks while crying (perhaps while lying face-down), and as the alcohol takes effect passes out in the puddle created. An unlucky angle puts mashed nose and mouth into a position to be sealed, and the completely smashed man/woman never wakes up.
This does not actually get water into the lungs, and they would probably die from vomit before tears, but anyway…
With whatever book I may have read this in being unavailable/missing, I checked the web for verification. All I found was that Hayes died of “exposure” with no mention of the drowning in the puddle. Better regard this comment as suspect.