I Demand a Weep Count

How long would a liberal have to cry to fill a coffee mug with tears?

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by iStock.

By now you have probably seen the “liberal tears” coffee mug, a post–Donald Trump riff on the “male tears” merch popular among the ironic misandrist set. Flogged on social media, as often as not beneath tweets by Trump, the mug suggests that its owner is drinking the tears of crestfallen liberals weeping over the election of Trump. How long would a liberal have to cry to fill such a mug with tears?

Long enough to watch Trump’s inaugural speech 180 times. We’ll assume the liberal in question is having a good cry, producing about 20 tears a minute, or one every 3 seconds. A teardrop is roughly 6 millionths of a liter. A standard mug is about 12 ounces, and it would take 354,882 millionths of a liter (or microliters) of liquid to fill 12 ounces—or 59,147 tears. So it would take 2,957 minutes, or more than two days of solid, relentless weeping.

That’s not factoring in evaporation, which, given how long the crying would last, would considerably slow down the process, making the task a Sisyphean one that no human outside of perhaps John Boehner, a decided nonliberal, could ever perform.

But if the liberal did figure out how to summon superhuman determination, hydrate like a triathlete, and seal the mug to avoid evaporation, he or she could make it through quite a bit of sob-inducing material. The liberal could watch his most recent press conference 47 times, the hot-mic Access Hollywood tape 985 times, or this video of Trump’s cameo in a pornographic video 3,696 times.