An Interview with Mehuman, Royal Eunuch to the Court of Ahasuerus, King of Persia
Queen Vashti refused to come at the King's commandment
by his chamberlain Mehuman.
Mehuman, one of seven eunuchs in attendance to King Ahasuerus, is noted chiefly for his role in the fall of Queen Vashti. According to transcripts, Mehuman was ordered by the king to "bring Queen Vashti before the king wearing a royal diadem, to display her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was a beautiful woman." Queen Vashti refused and was immediately banned from court. The following are excerpts from an interview with Mehuman that took place during a tear in the space-time continuum.
PJV: First, I just have to ask you, what's it like being a eunuch at court? What are the hours like? What do you guys do on your days off?
I think you're confusing me with someone else.
PJV: There's no need to be embarrassed. Over the centuries, we've learned to treat people with, uh, disabilities with respect and sensitivity.
No really. I'm not the man you think I am.
PJV: Clearly. But again, I mean no disrespect. I just want to give our readers some insights into the lifestyles of, how should I put it, the testicularly challenged.
I am Memucan, advisor to His Royal Highness Ahasuerus of Persia. You are confusing me
with Mehuman, Royal Eunuch to His Royal Highness Ahasuerus of Persia.
PJV: You're not a eunuch?
PJV: Hmm. I was really looking forward to interviewing a eunuch. Are you absolutely certain you're not a eunuch?
I can assure you that I am fully equipped; otherwise I could not serve as an advisor to His Royal Highness Ahasuerus of Persia.
PJV: Well, do you know this Mehuman fellow?
Yes. We play tennis every Thursday.
PJV: Is he a good tennis player?
Like most eunuchs he has no forehand.
PJV: I see.
But he looks swell in his whites and always buys the beer. I think it's his way of compensating for his lack of equipment.
PJV: I beg your pardon?
He never has any balls. I'm the one who always has to bring the balls. They're rather expensive.
PJV: You're referring to tennis balls.
What else would I be referring to?
PJV: Tell you what, let's change the subject.
It's your drachma.
PJV: So you're Memucan, not Mehuman.
PJV: And you're an advisor to King Ahasuerus.
PJV: Well, what light can you shed on this Vashti scandal?
Plenty. It was I who pointed out to the king that Vashti's refusal to appear at court would encourage the all the wives of Persia and Media -
PJV: Wait, did you say Media?
PJV: I live right near Media.
You don't say.
PJV: It's just a few miles down Route 1. If you take the bypass it's only -
I think you're talking about a different Media. The Media I'm referring to is a large province of the Persian Empire. And there is no bypass.
PJV: No bypass?
Local traffic only. It's a mess during rush hour. Of course, if you take the Silk Road you can cut an hour off the commute, but I'm allergic to silk so it doesn't help -
PJV: Sounds fascinating. Could we get back to Vashti?
It's your sesterce.
PJV: Why did she refuse the king's command to appear at court?
I don't know what stories you've heard. There are lots of theories swirling around. But I can assure you that it all comes down to
Weapons of Malodorous Digestion.
PJV: I'm not sure I follow.
Gas. Vashti is lactose intolerant. She knows she's not supposed to eat curds, but the royal chef had whipped up a fresh batch that night and everyone in the harem was having a wonderful time, you know, eating curds, playing Hide The Ziggurat. Anyway, she got a little carried away and downed a couple of carafes of curds and, well?.
Well, Mehuman knocks on the door with orders for Vashti has to appear at court and there was just no way she was going to make the trip. Think about it. Vashti wearing the diadem, dancing before the king in her condition? I don't want to seem indelicate, but when Vashti eats dairy, there isn't enough incense in all of Persia to -
PJV: I think I get the picture.
The problem was King Ahasuerus wasn't going to get the picture. Vashti had kept her little digestive problem secret from him for years and that night was not the time to reveal it to him. He was partying like crazy. Even if he had been sober it probably wouldn't have done any good.
PJV: Why do you say that?
The king is a decent fellow when you get to know him, but let's just say he's not the brightest wick in the oil lamp. You know what I mean? No King Solomon.
PJV: So what did you do?
The only thing I could. I told Mehuman to tell the king that Vashti was refusing to come, then I made my way back to the king's party to handle the fallout. I knew the king would ask me what to do.
PJV: What was your advice?
To ban Vashti from ever appearing in court again.
PJV: That's pretty cold.
It was for her own good. I could see that the curds were going to be a continuing problem. She loved chugging that stuff. And like I said, when she eats dairy, there isn't enough incense in all of Persia to -
PJV: I got it. But how could you be sure Ahasuerus would take the advice?
I suggested that if he didn't, wives across Persia would take it as a sign of weakness and
start giving their husbands grief.
PJV: Hold on a minute. You're telling me that you goaded the king into banning Vashti from court by suggesting that he if he didn't, Persian masculinity would take a pounding?
Yeah, more or less.
PJV: Well that settles one thing.
PJV: You're clearly no eunuch.
Interviewed by Chaim Yankel
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