Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Tale of the Tub

Wallowing in my tub the other day, I was ruminating on the parlous state of affairs mankind has got itself in to. Cows, of course, do quite a bit of ruminating and, as a result, seem to be a good deal more contented than most of us.
I was following in the steps of the many famous philosophers who have had similar trains of thought. Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Copernicus and, in today's world, Jade Goody and Margaret Hodge have all done a bit of it.
One unresolved question in my mind was this ceaseless quest into outer space to find a world similar to ours. Surely we should be looking for somewhere totally different?
Mind you, having found it, we'd probably manage to cock it up in no time at all.
But lying there, surrounded by a squadron of yellow rubber ducks, I think I may have come across one of the reasons for mankind's inability to think straight.
I refer to the excessive use of the shower as opposed to the conventional bath.
A bath gives one time to ponder, to think deeply and clearly, to come to carefully considered decisions. Showers lead to hasty actions, in case someone messes with the water pressure and freezes or boils you during your ablutions.
The invasion of Iraq, for instance, would never have taken place had Tony Blair and George Bush developed their relationship further than a similar taste in toothpaste and made use of the tub to reflect.
And where would we be if Archimedes had taken a shower? His name would merely be remembered as that of a West End restaurant or possible as a Greek shipping magnate.
And ship's tonnage would not be known as displacement.
Marat did not do too well out of the bath business admittedly but was probably deep in thought at the time, and Charlotte Corday certainly made life easier for the housekeeper who had to tidy up afterwards. Anyway, Alfred Hitchcock proved that showers were no safer.
A little known slice of history is that of Winston Churchill's contribution to victory at the front in the First World War.
Arriving at his headquarters behind the lines, he brought with him his portable bathtub complete with gas fired geyser. Spotted by the Germans, they thought it was the British new secret weapon.
At Cambrai, they were dismayed to find that it had been a deliberate ruse to confuse them, as the tanks rumbled across the battlefield.
Churchill never got the credit he deserved.
And finally, as the water gurgles down the plughole, a tub provides you with proof positive as to whether you are north or south of the equator.
And in today's uncertain world, it's nice to have something positive to latch on to.


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