Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Don’t Eat the Cake

I’m sure we’ve all heard the expression “have your cake and eat it too”...probably as “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”...or “You’re trying to have your cake and eat it too.” It’s a very old saying, probably older than me, and I’ve never given it much thought...until now (uh-oh).
The expression recently came up regarding a friend of mine having issue with married men or men in committed relationships making passes to her in secret. Let me be clear right from the start...I don’t have an issue with her having an issue. I’m also not going to discuss morality and ethics in this post. I just want to examine the reality behind the expression...because it never occurred to me to do so...until now.

If we examine the expression at face value and literally...we are left with a cake that we can have and eat, but to do both is a bad thing. So then we can have the cake so long as we don’t eat it. Don’t eat the cake. Hmmm....I can picture a room full of children all getting a slice of cake and having no desire to eat it (yeah right) and one child following the human course of action (more on this later) and another pointing and yelling out “He’s eating the cake! He’s eating the cake!”  An adult quickly comes over and delivers the classic “’re trying to have your cake and eat it too.” 
Don’t eat the cake. Really? Who does this? Who has a cake, with no intention of eating it too? Who buys a cake for themselves or for another with no intention of either eating it or having it eaten? I would say nobody...but in this wacky world, I’m sure someone actually does...but my point is that it’s not even close to the norm. Indeed it’s very human and logical to eat a cake that you’ve gone through the trouble to have or by circumstance have come into possession of.
Now lets examine the humanity behind the saying now that the literal examination has produced slices that make no sense. The expression is used as a euphemism for wanting it all and let’s be honest...who doesn’t? If given a choice between having everything you want and having only some of what you want, who really opts for having some? Now...if nobody (do I really need to mention that there are always exceptions) settles for some, then why do we get angry at another when they try to get all...or better still, actually have it all! Seems like hater-ism to me (uh-oh).
Barring the moral, ethical and societal implications associated with the expression (that will be another post), I don’t see the problem of wanting or having it all. It’s what most of us work so hard for and what most of us dream about. To want it all is human and to have it all is blessed. I applaud anyone that can eat the cake they have and am a fan if they give me a slice. So the next time you’re accused of having intentions of eating the cake you have, become a mirror so the accuser can see the frosting around their lips.
Sometimes we just need to accept the fact that we are human.

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