PLAY #38: EPIPHANIES DON’T ALWAYS COME ON TIME (JAN 7)

A bathtub full of water.

A yellow plastic duck falls from the sky and lands.

Splash!

 

A lemon falls from the sky into the bath.

Another splash!

Another duck.

Another lemon.

 

ARCHIMIDES surges up from the water and takes a gulp of air.

He looks up at the sky, jumps out of the bath, grabs a dressing-gown.

More yellow plastic ducks and lemons falling and splashing.

ARCHIMIDES addresses the audience with urgency.

 

ARCHIMEDES

Life should not be contained to a single eureka

eurekas must froth and bubble

bouncing off each other

until what we found in the first-place has now been displaced.

So

yes, it is exciting

that a body placed in water

displaces an amount of water equal to its volume.

Eureka!

That water reveals the true volume of things

has been very useful

not least in revealing that the gold crown that encircled the head of my King

had cheap silver at its heart.

My Archimedes’ Principle

didn’t come with a story of me dashing about naked screaming ‘eureka’

so perhaps it has less weight

but it is nonetheless useful

in determining the buoyancy of objects.

Submarines and ships are grateful enough

fish too

though perhaps they had discovered buoyancy before my equation!

 

Rubber ducks falling.

Lemons falling.

Splashing.

 

In any case

any rule starkly stated

will not address all issues.

It is true

that the rising volume of water is something we need to think about

that this displaced water will be rushing across subways and cities

and a melting glacier

should be something unignorable

a man dashing naked through the streets

something that people must attend to

like it or not.

 

Rubber ducks falling.

Lemons falling.

Splashing.

 

But

this is not just a case of volume.

Objects that are placed in water

can alter its composition.

The PH of the ocean is increasing

as more carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere

more carbon dioxide is in the oceans

which rises the PH levels

so that the ocean is more acidic

which

threatens coral and small sea creatures

like pteropods

small little sea snails

who cannot curl up tight enough to escape the carbonic acid

who will disappear

leaving bigger creatures hungrier

and disturbing the whole delicate ecosystem

until

we might have huge whales roaming an empty ocean

until

we have an acidic ocean leached of life.

 

Rubber ducks falling.

Lemons falling.

Splashing.

 

Meanwhile

the plastic we toss away

collects in the Pacific like a giant island

like a monster waiting to ensnare birds and fish

Meanwhile

we throw thing after thing into the ocean.

Meanwhile

we are ripping up the ocean bed for more fuel.

 

And even if our clothes are dry as bone

we are all diving into the ocean all the time

changing its equilibrium with our volume

making our presence known.

And

if we want there to be things to measure in the future

then we must stop.

Eureka!

 

Ducks and lemons fall from the sky

Until water sloshes across the floor

Until the bath-tub is brimful of ducks and lemons.

 

ARCHIMIDES stares at the audience expectantly.

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