Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Problem With Cake

It is widely known that those on the autism spectrum often have a hard time with figures of speech and the like. I personally don't have a horrible time at this, but there are a few saying out there that I have trouble with. However, when it comes to certain proverbs I have a horrible time and there has been one that I've heard for a long time but never thought of until last Friday.

I was sitting in the score tower at the quarter midget track at Napa Raceway outside Alburqurque when I got to thinking about the line, "You can't have your cake and eat it too." This line makes no sense on a literal level because if you were to have the cake wouldn't that entail you eating the cake? I mean, what good is cake unless you are going to eat it? Of course, if it's an awful flavor one wouldn't want it at all.

So you can't have the cake and eat it too. I struggled with this and it was the only thing my mind could think of because I was trying to find the logic in it which my mind was convinced there was none. And the more I thought about it the more it made no sense.

Minutes went by and I thought for a second that this might mean that, once you eat the cake it is no longer there. But, what happens if you only eat on piece of a whole cake? The problem with proverbs and figures of speech is that we can view them visually and literally; there may be a valid point that is brought up in a proverb but it's going to be lost. A good point on that is, "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" as the last horse I looked in the mouth didn't end so well.

I eventually came to the conclusion that the flavor of the cake doesn't matter, how much cake doesn't matter, the only thing that matters if that you can't have your cake and eat it too. What this meant was I was right back to square one having no idea what it meant. So out came my phone and to the Internet I went to try and decipher the meaning of this cake.

The origin of this cake dates back to 1546! This was news to me because that was a long time ago and who knew they had cake back then? If you said that you did that's fine, but I had no idea. This little fact that meant nothing because cake now or cake then is irrelevant because why can't a person eat it and have it?

I finally read one line that made everything make sense and it wasn't that difficult. You see, the problem with cake is that it's complicated and can have multiple layers (Ha! That line just happened randomly. I swear.) whereas it would be so much easier to say what you mean and mean what you say because this line I read translated this cryptic saying by stating, "you can't have it both ways." Now was that overly difficult to explain? Why come up with some saying that can 1. make you hungry 2. makes no sense and 3. can be explained in a much simpler format? It makes no sense to me and this is the essence of why there is now a serious problem with proverbial cakes.

1 comment:

  1. I'm like you Aaron. I love to delve into the etymology of all the confusing sayings we use on a regular basis these days. Most all of them can be traced back hundreds of years, many to our European roots in medieval feudal times. One of my favorites used to be about cake also, specifically "let them eat cake!" used as a derogatory phrase.

    Now, who among us would consider eating cake to be a punishment? Not me nor my kids, that's for sure! But, when you find out that during the reign of Marie Antoinette (to whom this phrase is incorrectly attributed to) cake (or brioche) was cheaper to produce than bread, during a famine or wheat shortage this phrase was used to point out the nobility's inability to understand the plight of the peasantry.

    Anyway, it never occurred to me that someone on the Autism spectrum, who may already have trouble with communication skills, would be totally tripped up by something like a phrase we may use often in our daily conversation. I personally will try to be more cognizant of this from now on.