disappointing desserts don’t discourage

So far today I have had two ideas for bloggerel to unleash on the unsuspecting world and have discarded them both after having started writing. They seemed like good ideas at the time, but as they evolved and appeared on the screen they did not look anything like as good as I had imagined.

This is a 'Punky' dessert from such a menu: ice cream is inside...

It’s a bit like the desserts you get at some restaurants. The dessert menu in these cases is often laminated and has pictures of the different desserts available – all of which have actually been bought from a wholesaler. When they arrive they don’t often look much like the picture and, even if it is a close approximation, my experience is that they don’t taste as good as I expected from the photo and the description on the laminated menu.

For some reason, however, that does not stop me from trying a different dessert the next time I am presented with a laminated menu as above. Perhaps, I think, this time it will be better. Perhaps, I hope, I had a bad batch. Perhaps, I expect, they don’t all taste like toxic chemicals.

Human optimism is a good thing. It encourages us to try new things. It fuels an indomitable spirit. It helps us take risks and innovate. Without it we may still be wearing animal skins and living in caves.

Of course unfettered optimism can be dangerous. R Kelly sang, “I believe I can fly…” which is optimistic, but simply believing that and jumping off a building unaided is inevitably going to leave a mess on the ground below. And unfettered pessimism is equally dangerous as it inhibits and restricts the risk-taking and innovation that marks out human progress and developments. If Eeyore had been Thomas Edison’s lab assistant we might all be sitting in candlelight.

The difficult thing is knowing how much realism and logic to add to our optimism and how much ambition and dreaming to add to our pessimism. There’s probably a mathematical formula to work that out, but I tend to err on the side of optimistic caution rather than pessimistic recklessness.

And next time I get a laminated dessert menu I will try again.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

Remember, the glass is always full. The only question is how much is water and how much is air…

… unless the glass is in a vacuum.

Breaking Murphy’s Laws

There are various versions of ‘Murphy’s Law’ going around.  It may be Murphy’s first law of inevitability: ‘If anything can go wrong it will’ or his first law of obsolescence: ‘If it jams, force it. If it breaks it needed replacing anyway’.  There’s Murphy’s law of duplication: ‘The legibility of a photocopy is inversely proportional to the importance of the document.’  And Murphy’s law of computing: ‘The attention span of a computer is only as long as its power cable.’

Of course Murphy’s law is traditionally tested by dropping a piece of toast that is buttered only on one side.  Murphy’s law dictates that it will always fall buttered side down.  This has been scientifically tested and is not true. It does not always fall buttered side down.  A development of the theory then states that the likelihood of the toast landing buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.  Still not scientifically proven.

Murphy’s law(s) are predicated on pessimism.  They assume that the worst will always happen.  While they may be amusing, if we live our lives based on Murphy’s laws we will miss out on so much joy.  So, on Shrove Tuesday (otherwise known as Pancake Day in the UK) I have a suggestion for breaking Murphy’s law.  Instead of dropping toast, toss pancakes – because they are double-sided they always land right side up.

(unless they stick to the ceiling!).