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by Daniel Walker

The average temperature of the female womb is 98 degrees Fahrenheit, which degree scale was named after the Polish and German and Dutch physicist and engineer Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit who in 1686 caused his mother to go into labor in Danzig, Poland, before communicating his express opinion that he possess tri-nationality, thus causing his mother to quickly traverse the German countryside—including both the Elbe and Rhine rivers—so that (as I imagine it) he could actually be born somewhere in Kerkrade, the Netherlands, which city existed at the time as a part of, of all things, the Spanish Empire, and from where he emigrated to begin experimenting with alcohol, glass blowing, and mercury, which led him to eventually propose the philosophy of a temperature scale in 1724, just 12 years before his death in 1736 for which a certain Swedish astronomer, Anders Celsius, was desperately waiting, perhaps due in part to some slight insecurities and jealousies caused by what must have been for him a very lonely, mono-national existence and also in order that, perhaps as a strictly secondary reason, he might—only 2 years before his own death in 1744—propose a completely new scale at which water freezes at 0 degrees and which he must have thought to be vastly superior to Fahrenheit’s, but with which an Irishman—one William Thomson—would disagree (though perhaps not because of reasons of nationality) and so propose yet another scale in 1848 which was an attempt to reconcile his qualms with absolute zero (which I’m sure he’s settled by now with his absolute death in 1907) and, in a startling turn of events, was actually named after him by other scientists instead of being so named while admiring himself and his many accomplishments in front of a mirror, as I would imagine was a frequent scenario for his predecessors, though I’m sure this was not for a lack of mirrors since he (William) was said to be a Baron in which case I probably should have addressed him as “Lord William,” this being the proper title at the time in Ireland for people abounding in potatoes, such as engineers, and for people named William, as was the case (though I think without the potatoes) with William John Macquorn Rankine of Scotland who didn’t even wait for his Irish counterpart to kick off before proposing the Rankine scale in 1859 which no one really uses, which I think a just consequence for William’s obvious attempt to overshadow another William and fellow engineer for the reason of potatoes, but I also think poor William got little attention because there were many other important things going on in 1859, one of which was the birth of William Fredrick Rigby, Jr., who left Mrs. Mary Clark’s 98-degree Fahrenheit (36.67 degrees Celsius; 309.82 kelvins; and 557.67 degrees Rankine) womb to be aptly named after his father, William Fredrick Rigby Sr., who had renounced his own mother’s womb 26 years before as the first child of his father, William (this fifth William adding substantial evidence to the Rankine’s apparent William complex for which I’m sure he received frequent, albeit posthumous, criticisms from William Lord Kelvin who actually outlived him by 35 years, probably because of his potatoes) Atkin Howarth who abandoned his respective womb (the word “womb” actually being of unknown origins) in 1816, a mere 46 years before the birth of little Jr. William’s brother, George, whose son’s daughter’s son (not named William) married a lovely woman (whose paternal grandfather, believe it or not, is named William) whose womb I vacated on the evening of the 25th of April in 1986, exactly 300 years (minus 29 days) after the birth of Mr. Fahrenheit, with whom I share a name and according to whose scale I experienced a temperature drop of about 30 degrees on the night in question, which has justifiably caused me to remain screaming for the last 25 years.