Forgotten History

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

I never met a man with one short leg, but that the other was longer’

Isn’t it a shame that some of the wisest men and women who ever existed have been forgotten by society even though their contribution was immense? It wasn’t because their endeavour wasn’t worthwhile, but it was not recognized by the powers that be at the time and he or she were never honoured.

Oh sure we remember many of the great thinkers of today, and yes, even dozens from centuries past. Einstein is a classic example. Albert was a brilliant physicist, although he never understood the concept of Brylcreem. And why wouldn’t we praise his accomplishments; every day young men use his Theory of Relativity to try and figure out whether his aunt’s granddaughter on his father’s side is off limits or whether he can legally take a run at her.

It goes without saying that without the famous Archimedes’ Principle we would never be able to figure out how much water to put in the bathtub. Once I forgot, just once. The carpet down the stairs still isn’t dry and the flood was three years ago. My plastic duck was never found.

Archimedes was also famous for his ‘Eureka, I’ve found it!’ It turned out later the one he found wasn’t his. That one belonged to someone else. What it was doing in Archimedes’s bathtub is still a mystery.

Without Pythagoras’ theorem about the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle we would never be able to figure out the height of a telephone pole without digging it out and lying it down to measure it, thereby saving Bell Canada millions – a windfall that was never passed on to their customers.

Sir Isaac Newton was hit on the head with a falling apple. When the bleeding stopped he discovered gravity. How things stayed on the earth before that no one knows. But what good did his discovery do for mankind? Not much, but it has enabled Galen Weston to charge as much for two apples as he did for a whole flipping bushel three years ago.

But we are not talking about them, the people from the past, we are talking about the unsung heroes of modern society, men and women we have forgotten or were never told about in the first place.

Do you remember E. A. Murphy Jr.? Of course you don’t, yet it was he who would came up with one of the most famous laws ever written. Yes, dear friends and gentle hearts, E. A. coined the statement, ‘Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.’

Obviously Murphy was the man who figured out the way things really work and why most of us just wander through life with a confused look on our face. He was an American engineer and apparently not a very good one since nothing he ever built was successful. But his law and several others based on it are known throughout today’s world, a tremendous accomplishment.

But if he was so great, why isn’t there a statue of him in every park in the United States? If he had been a Canadian, Murphy would be standing proud in Orillia’s Couchiching Park where Samuel de Champlain once stood before he was stolen, destined never to be seen again. Someone should go to jail for that.

Better still, E.A. could be in Ottawa right up there with Queen Victoria. You may ask, what did she ever do that was noteworthy? Well, for one thing, she had nine children, which makes me wonder why her statue is standing? Apparently Vicky spent most of her life on her back.

What has that to do with Murphy’s Law? Nothing really, it’s just that when I was a teenager I would have loved to have met a woman as frisky as Victoria. When Prince Albert died he only weighed 72 pounds and it took the undertaker person two weeks to wipe the smile off his face. Perhaps the Victorian Age wasn’t as prim and proper as historians let on.

Some great sayings just appeared out of nowhere and no one knows who said it or why. What about ‘I wish I knew where I am going to die and I’d never go near the place.’

‘Them is mighty big oranges and it wouldn’t take too many to make a dozen.’

‘You get your wife and I’ll get some other tramp and…‘  Strange, that one was never finished.

(Image Supplied)

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