Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Mr Creosote

I was advised yesterday by cousin Mary to enjoy my birthday “without indulging in too much cake”. I replied ‘Please explain to me the concept of "too much cake", I admit to never having been a student of philosophy.’ 

She kindly replied ‘it might be more accurate to speak of physiology rather than philosophy in this instance! When your shirt-buttons start popping and you feel you may be "bursting at the seams", you have certainly had "too much cake"’

I was grateful for the reply but, alas, it did not satisfy me. The symptoms she described were, in my view, evidence of clothing of the wrong size or an inadequate metabolism.

Most of us are unable to devote much time to deep reflection on the essence of existence, being more driven to concentrate on those activities essential to survival – foraging for sustenance, getting the required daily 11 hours sleep, correcting errors on twitter and watching “Only Connect”. However, the current suspension of test cricket, the IPL and Super Rugby allows me a few moments of reflection.

On a similar theme to the cake conundrum above, I confess to being troubled by the simplistic “glass half full/half empty” explanation of the difference between optimists and pessimists (I have always favoured the third option, that of engineering, which posits the case that the glass is the wrong size).  Facts of which we are not informed include the size, location and contents of the receptacle.  If one were thirsty and the glass was to hand and contained some nourishing, thirst-quenching substance, then it might be safe to say that the position of seeing the glass half full was an optimistic one. Alternatively, if the glass contained a highly radioactive substance then the size of the glass and its proximity would be factors in determining degrees of optimism/pessimism.

It is not in my nature to bemoan the shortcomings of this creation. I am sure that the next upgrade, or version 2, will eliminate sweet potatoes, capitalism, carrot cake, reality tv, misanthropy, the cult of celebrity, racism and Ikea. We should not be too hard on God for his oversights, particularly if she only had seven days to complete the task. (This of course raises the troubling question of who it was who was powerful enough to set ridiculous deadlines that constrained an omnipotent being – Mary, see what your edict has unearthed?)

I hope that this helps.