You Have A Glass?

I have to admit I’m not the most positive person on the planet. When somebody asks me “Is your glass half full or half empty,” all I can think is “You have a glass?”

Maybe it’s because I’m slightly dyslexic, but I’ve always been confused by the whole “half full, half empty” thing. I have problems with things like left and right, and “d” and “b” – they tend to get flipped around in my mind and I’ll write “dog” as “bog” if I’m not careful. So sometimes when I think about a glass that is half full or half empty, it gets flipped and there is nothing on the bottom and all the liquid is up at the top and I know that can’t be right, but I don’t think that has anything to do with dyslexia – that’s just physics.

To my way of thinking, a glass that’s half empty is a good thing. It means you’ve already had some soda or milk or iced latte, or whatever was in the glass in the first place. I don’t know what sort of catastrophic world event has now occurred that prevents you from finishing the rest of it, but at least you’ve already had some.

If the glass was half full, that would indicate to me that you haven’t had any yet, which kind of sucks, especially if the aliens have just landed or Nicholas Cage has failed to prevent a series of events that are about to result in the world blowing up. You haven’t had ANY of your iced latte yet – not even a sip. And now you won’t. Ever. And that seems very sad to me.

But the “official” take on the whole thing is that half full is better. This strange obsession Americans have with “positivity” and “looking at the bright side” really bugs me. I believe in reality, and facing the truth. Things aren’t always “Yes!” and “I can!” and “A winner never quits and a quitter never wins.” Sometimes things are “You have cancer” and “We’re laying you off” and “You’ll never be a movie star, go get a job as a legal word processor.” And then you do, and you work at your office job for fifteen years, and then you get laid off from that job, and you’re too old and tired to start all over and the entire country is in an economic downturn and you can’t even get a job at Starbucks. That’s not being cynical. That’s just reality.

And I’m fine with that, because to me, reality just is. I can’t control it. I can, however, control my reaction to it, and that’s where happiness comes in. Happiness is a choice, and even in the face of being unemployed or aliens blowing up the world, you can still CHOOSE to be happy. It doesn’t take much, really. A walk in the sunshine. A piece of pie. A brand new buttery soft off-white leather handbag charged to Visa. You can always find something. Even if the face of harsh reality, I choose to be happy.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a delicious half-glass of iced latte to finish before the aliens blow up the world.

(This post is dedicated to my new blogger friend La Belette Rouge. She’s a wonderful writer, and also likes to shop. My kind of gal.)


6 Comments on “You Have A Glass?”

  1. The speed with which bad things happen and then people want to make lemonade, lemon cake and other lemon treats that require pounds of sugar to make palettable is shocking. Could we just take a moment to admit that there is a lemon in our mouth and it tastes bitter and horrible and let the waiter know this is not what we ordered?

    And even though lemons happen I am totally with you on happiness in spite of lemons( damn, I am committed to this metaphor). I have loads to be happy about and I think I could be happier still if I too had ordered a off-white handbag.

    I am delighted to be dedicated this piece full of wisdom( not half-full). Thank you! And, thank you for your VERY kind compliments. The feeling is mutual, I’m sure.:-)

  2. Tara Zucker says:

    La Belette Rouge – you have a lemon?

  3. Oui, je prends beaucoup de citrons. Doesn’t that sound better than I saying I have many problems? Lemon pie, anyone?

  4. lagatta à montréal says:

    I’m thrilled to read this. I hate all that “positive-thinking” stuff, but then I’m a snarky Québécoise.

    The last thing anyone needs is too much sugar, literally or figuratively.

  5. sallymandy says:

    Ha ha ha. I get this. It took me a long time to figure out the glass full/empty thing, and then I felt I only forced myself to understand it to be socially acceptable. Your writing is so fun to read. I really enjoy your style as well as, of course, what you’re saying.

    I have been called a Pollyanna before, and that’s probably because I find reality so appalling, so many days, that I overcompensate.

  6. Tomas was musing after I read this post aloud to him – why is the glass never full? Why did the host only give you half a glass? And then I wondered, why is a rude host considered “good?”


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