Men! Who can live with them? They never listen to a word anyone says, not even other men. And if a woman tries talking, well, it’s like the wind simply blowing over their heads. Some of the most infamous stories wouldn’t even be worth re-telling if the men in them had just listened to their women.
Take this one, just for example.
Everyone knows the story of Archimedes and his bathwater. But it wouldn’t be so well known if the ancient Greek scientist had listened to his cousin, Drosis. Drosis was employed by Archimedes as a maid because, as is well known, scientists are very sloppy in their personal lives.
When Archimedes was presented with the task of finding out whether the goldsmith had replaced some of the gold for the king’s crown with inferior silver, Archimedes’ first thought was to melt it down and figure it out that way. But no, the king insisted his unique crown not be messed with. Even though that was the easiest method and the silly fixture could always be recast. But Archimedes relented, saying he’d figure it out, come Hades or high water.
Well, he went home, without the crown, because, well, a crown is a crown. He was pacing the floor, muttering to himself about how was he going to get out of this jam, and his cousin heard him. Drosis offered a solution that seemed obvious to her.
“Archie, why don’t you just drop it in the bath? The water displacement will tell you all you need to know, since you know the weight of gold and the weight of silver, right?”
“Bah!” Archimedes waved her off. “Why don’t you go sweep something? Science isn’t something girls can do!”
“Sweep something…sure, I’ll sweep your …” Drosis trailed away angrily. “How about if I go make you a nice, warm supper and draw up your bath? You cretin…”
“Yes, yes! That sounds…wait, a bath? I don’t need a bath. I just bathed last week.”
Drosis sighed, “I know, Archie, but trust me, you stink. I’ll make it all good and hot. You’ll figure out this man-only-knows science question right quick afterward.”
Archimedes nodded, going back to his pacing and pondering. He was afraid he’d never get it. But if the greatest mind in all of Greece couldn’t manage it, who could? He’d have to ask the king for more time, was all.
After Drosis got the bath steaming, she called for her unfair-minded cousin to hop in. Archimedes disrobed and climbed in, sinking into the heat, not paying any attention to anything at all, much less the water displacement taking place.
“Oh, Archie, whatever is happening to the water?!?” Drosis’ falsely cheerful voice brought Archimedes out of his blissful zoning out.
“Hmmm, what?” He blinked open his eyes and looked where his much-more-intelligent cousin was pointing. “Oh, dear me, yes! I see. Eureka!”
The ancient Greek jumped out of his bath, nearly bowling over Drosis in his hurry, screeching “Eureka!” He ran through the house, out the door and into the streets, shouting the entire way.
The next door neighbor sidled up to Drosis who was watching from the door of Archimedes’ house. “What’s going on with the old fart?”
“Oh,” the wise woman said, “he thinks he’s discovered a principal. I think I’ll let him name it after himself.”