Glycerin tears and Encyclopedia Brown
December 2, 2008 2:53 PM   Subscribe

Which Encyclopedia Brown book had the story about tear ducts?

I seem to recall that there was a scientifically dubious story in one of the Encyclopedia Brown books that solved the mystery after Brown noticed that the tear from someone's eye ran from the outer corner, not the inner, and thus had to be fake. A perusal of the many Sobol volumes in two local bookstores did not yield a book containing this story.

1) Was this actually in an Encyclopedia Brown book? Perhaps it was another children's mystery?

2) Which book was it in?

3) Has it been removed from that book or does my local Barnes & Nobel suck (answer: yes)?
posted by vilthuril to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
It was Encyclopedia Brown, I'm 99% positive. They even had an illustration on the solution page that showed it. Scientifically dubious, yes.
posted by amicamentis at 2:57 PM on December 2, 2008


I remember that story. Definitely an Encyclopedia Brown story, though I can't help you with the exact book title.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:01 PM on December 2, 2008


It was definitely an Encylopedia Brown book. I just checked the wikipedia listing of all the books, and I'm quite sure it's in one of the ones published prior to 1985. I remember that story and didn't read any of the newer books.
posted by peep at 3:03 PM on December 2, 2008


That may narrow it down, peep, since I think the bookstore had volumes 1 - 13. That leaves:

# (14) Encyclopedia Brown Carries On (1980, ISBN 0-027-86190-2)
# (15) Encyclopedia Brown Sets the Pace (1981, ISBN 0-027-86200-3)
# (15½) Encyclopedia Brown Takes the Cake (1982, ISBN 0590078437) (Co-written with Glenn Andrews)

Anyone have those?
posted by vilthuril at 3:08 PM on December 2, 2008


It was a story about a birthday party! I TOTALLY remember this!!!

I don't remember the title, but given your short list, maybe "Encyclopedia Brown Takes the Cake" is birthday related?
posted by Cygnet at 3:12 PM on December 2, 2008


I found a reference to it that said the mystery he was trying to solve was who was snooping in his house, and it turned out to be the girl from down the street. Dunno if that helps any.
posted by dolface at 3:12 PM on December 2, 2008


The only scrap of info I can add is that I'm pretty sure the perp is a girl in this particular story. I seem to remember the aforementioned illustration being of a girl.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:13 PM on December 2, 2008


OK, I definitely remember the story. When I read your question, I thought for sure it had a blue cover, but after reading the answers maybe not. If it's one of the ones you listed, it's either going to be Sets the Pace or Takes the Cake, since I know for sure I had both of those, and don't remember the cover to Carries On at all. I don't remember how much the book titles had to do with the stories inside them, but the phony tears story took place at her birthday party (something about her presents being stolen, maybe?). They serve cake at birthday parties if I'm not mistaken.

I think about that frickin story every time I go to put in eye drops.
posted by phunniemee at 3:15 PM on December 2, 2008


It was definitely an Encyclopedia Brown book, and it was a female character who had the fake tear. She emerged from another room (the kitchen?) to say something had been stolen (baked goods?) when she had really taken them herself, faked the whole thing.

Google books is not being helpful for finding which book the story is in. Also, it's a big lie, since I've seen plenty of real tears well up and come out of the outer eye corner.
posted by piratebowling at 3:17 PM on December 2, 2008


It's Encyclopedia Brown Sets the Pace. (thanks to Amazon's inside the book search)
posted by zsazsa at 3:19 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, I wrote my answer before seeing everyone else's cake references, so we're clearly all on the same half-remembered page.
posted by piratebowling at 3:20 PM on December 2, 2008


On second thought, "Encyclopedia Brown Takes the Cake" appears to be a cook book, and I'm almost positive I haven't read that.

Gosh, this is so exciting that somebody else remembers this story. For *years* I believed the story - I assumed it was totally accurate. I remember dozens of times as a kid when I was pretty damn sure that so-and-so was crying for real, but the tears were falling from the *center* of his/her eyes, not from the tear ducts, and I'd get all confused. I eventually realized that, alas, Encyclopedia Brown is sometimes wrong.
posted by Cygnet at 3:20 PM on December 2, 2008


I think about that frickin story every time I go to put in eye drops.

This is no lie: I think about that frickin story every time I CRY.
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:24 PM on December 2, 2008


This question and its answers are further evidence that Metafilter is made with 100% all natural, organically grown WIN.
posted by phunniemee at 3:27 PM on December 2, 2008


Awesome. I definitely remember that story. In fact, I have my own mental twitch now whenever I see someone crying on television, thanks to Encyclopedia Brown.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:29 PM on December 2, 2008


Sophomore year of college, my two roommates and I discovered that we all independently remembered that particular Encyclopedia Brown case from our childhoods. I think it might be the most memorable E.B. factoid -- I can't remember anything else from any of the books, but the "tears flow from the inside of the eye" thing is permanently burned into my memory. I wonder why that story in particular seems to wedge itself in children's minds...
posted by pluckemin at 7:12 PM on December 2, 2008


Also, it's a big lie, since I've seen plenty of real tears well up and come out of the outer eye corner.

Well, the tear ducts are definitely on the nasal side of the eye [anatomy lesson], but up above the eyelid is the closely related lacrimal gland, which is responsible for keeping the eyeball itself lubricated as you blink. Tears can certainly well up in the lower eyelid and overflow on either side, though.
posted by dhartung at 10:19 PM on December 2, 2008


Oh Encyclopedia Brown. He used to drive me nuts with his vast reservoirs of knowledge. I too remember this story when crying occurs (mine or someone else's).
posted by fantine at 3:59 AM on December 3, 2008


Also, pigs can't look up and it's impossible for a chicken to be cross-eyed.

Closes eyes to do deepest thinking.
posted by speedo at 8:07 AM on December 3, 2008


Also, it's a big lie, since I've seen plenty of real tears well up and come out of the outer eye corner.

All irrelevant anyway, because once she was confronted with the evidence, she confessed, don't you know?

Also, pigs can't look up

I also think of this everytime I see pigs.
posted by peep at 11:30 AM on December 3, 2008


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