Half a cake?

[first published 8th Jan]

Glass half empty – it was fully full, and you’ve drunk half of it … this is good
glass half full – it was only ever given to you half full, this is bad

have cake and eat it – you can’t eat a cake without having it …
eat cake and have it – best of both worlds

Pangloss was onto something

Sometimes I wonder whether people actually listen to what they say … oh, ok … I re-read that and it’s utter bollocks. Sometimes it’s quite plain that people don’t listen to what they say. Or, at the very least, repeat things such as sayings and anecdotes without enquiring as to whether they make any sense at all. Recently, someone asked me whether I’m a ‘glass half full’ person. Naturally, I replied that it depends what’s in the glass … and then paused. It’s a phrase which everyone understand but no-one seems to consider. Frankly, it’s astonishing. Applying a little logic to the phrase, and the most intelligent inference one can draw is that we have it the wrong way around. Allow me to put my case:

In this analysis, we presuppose that the glass in question is a pint glass containing exactly half a pint of finest bitter. Mmm. The question concerns our perception of its worth.

If one’s glass is half empty, then the movement, surely, is from full to empty. This means that one began with a full pint of foaming ale, of which a full half pint has been quaffed. In other words, one has had a full half pint of enjoyment, and there is still a half pint to go. This, good people, is the best of both worlds. Halfway through a delightful pint and one is full of the memories of the refreshment already achieved (not to mention the small quantity of alcohol giggling around the system), and as a result anticipating a repeat performance. It’s win-win. Had beer. Having beer. Will be having beer. Past, present and future all contain beer. You see, I wasn’t thinking – it’s win-win-win …

Contrast this happy state of affairs with he whose glass is half-full. This glass has had beer poured into it until it is half full. He has the same amount of beer to look forward to, but has missed out on a full half pint … not only does he miss out on half a pint, but he looks at our first bibulous adventurer with something akin to envy, ‘the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on’, etc. So not only does our second drinker half a pint less beer to drink, but he knows it. This? is adding insult to injury, surely?

Well, I hope we’ve cleared that one up …

PS. Si notes … ‘that might be taken as being a little bit pedantic’ … a little bit? Jeepers. Si has a problem with his quantity surveying. But then again, you haven’t seen the size of his glass …

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