Fake tears have a distinctive forced sound coming out, a tremored whine. There is a pulling at the senses, a strain of reaching. The plea to be believed comes through in the pitch.
Real tears rush out – unaware of themselves. If there is a fight, it is a fight to stop. Real tears overwhelm instead of being overwhelmed.
A few years ago photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher found that the structure of tears is different depending on what emotion or condition inspired them. She found that onion tears are far more orderly and symmetric than emotional tears. Tears of beginnings and endings have all the charm and conflicting chaos of an abstract painting, while grief tears have sparse, hard lined structures inside haunting open spaces. Tears of grief almost look like buildings in a strip mall. Laughter almost splashes.
She didn’t photograph crocodile tears, but they would no doubt look similar to the onion tears. Emotional tears are tinged with hormones and proteins that are linked the-the euphoria, or just plain sense of relief that can occur after a good weep.
“Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger and as complex as a rite of passage,” Fisher explains. “It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.”
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