Is Your Omelet Half Full or Half Empty?
Monday morning I woke up feeling terribly depressed and hungry and decided to deal with both sensations by making an omelet. This decision didn’t necessarily come from an unbearable desire to eat an omelet, but was instead made because I’d run out of milk and therefore was unable to enjoy my usual morning bowl of cereal. I cracked open three eggs and beat them with a fork. Then I got to thinking: what could I put in it? I looked in the fridge. One carrot and some lettuce in a Tupperware container. I had hoped that there would be a few slices of ham or some cheese in the fridge. There were not. Nor were there any mushrooms, spinach, or tomatoes. In Asia, they typically put rice in an omelet. I didn’t have any rice either.
“I don’t have a single damn thing to put in this omelet,” I said to myself. I still made it anyways. In the end, I ate a plain omelet or, as some might call it, “eggs.”
Everyone has heard the question “Is the glass half full or half empty?” and understands what it means. It’s a quick personality test, a barometer for how one views the world. It deals with perception and how one’s outlook on life influences how he or she assesses or interprets things. After my barren breakfast, I propose a new question: “How full is your omelet?” If the glass question measures perception, my question measures functionality, or how well a person takes care of him or herself. Are you a person who can, on any day or at any time, make an omelet and have things to put in it? People who keep their refrigerators stocked and omelet ready would rank highly on my scale. They have created a comfortable world for themselves; they are mature, task oriented, and pragmatic. Conversely, are you, like me, a person who isn’t really sure of what supplies you’ve assembled? Do you think there might be ham when, in reality, you’re ham-less? Then you are a dreamer, a person who values the abstract over the fundamental, and you are probably slightly malnourished as well.
The omelet question is of great significance. Employers and dating websites can use it to evaluate potential matches. In a famous instance dating back centuries ago, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered an inn in France to create an enormous omelet to feed his army. What if they had nothing? What if they served Napoleon’s army scrambled eggs instead? Perhaps history would be different.
Or perhaps it wouldn’t be. More likely, the only one affected would be the innkeeper who was ordered to make the giant omelet. He would feel ashamed, his lack of preparation apparent in the redness of his cheeks, handing plates of eggs to the Grand Armee like it was of no more importance than a waiter serving a table of drunks at Denny’s.