For a start, the toast thing is technically an application of sods law, rather than the definition of the law.
In fact, i don’t think it’s true (although I did recently drop the entire contents of a tub of margarine on the floor, it did, unsurprisingly, land butter side down) I think it’s just selective reporting; and it’s exactly the sort of selective reporting we need to fight.
That or it’s just that butter is heavier than ‘not butter’. (I actually once heard it reported that the issue is the average height/arm length is in a certain ratio with the size of the average slice, leading to a specific number of ‘flips’ of the toast as it falls. If this is true, the easiest solution is actually to carry the toast butter side down. Unfortunately, it is almost certainly not true.)
Where was I?
Oh yes. Pessimism.
There’s just no need for it. (Except sometimes there is). I’ve heard all the arguments about pessimism leading to pleasant surprises, but don’t think it’s the whole story. For a start, it’s hard to enjoy even a little bit of pleasantness when you are convinced it’s going to end in tears.
(Of course, the constancy of change means that those tears are inevitable, and an awareness of that is fine, as long as it only helps you appreciate the good times (knowing their finity), and doesn’t just make you dread their ending).
Things end; and toast, like everything else is impermanent. This is fine. This is no reason to look bleakly out at the world, in constant fear of dusty butter and buttery fingers (clinging to stray hairs and specks of whatever it is that sits on floors).
Life is better for the people who pick up the toast (quickly) blow on it, and carry on as if nothing happened. (Apart from the ones who die from horrible floor diseases).
(I don’t believe I’ve ever used so many parentheses. Sorry about that. I normally try and restrain myself.)
When we look back on our lives, it’s easy enough to only see the times when things have gone wrong. I look back on a torrent of failed relationships, failed projects, absent friends and self wallowing.
But fuck it. I’ve also spent all that time building a network of loved ones, of cherished memories, of learnings and experiences that have taught me (hopefully) to be better than that. Mistakes made have led to me being different, and hopefully not making the same mistakes again. Learning is life. And just sitting there and saying ‘everything is shit so everything shit happens, especially to me’ is not a very educational outlook.
You don’t learn by moping.
I take it upon myself to stop being miserable about eight times a week. Sometimes it works, and I hope one day it’ll stick.
Like butter to the floor.
(Incidentally, if dropping butter on the floor at home, do clean it up carefully, you can break legs and shit).
Illustration by Adam.