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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Proverb, shoverb

While shortlisting poems for the next issue of Papercuts, our poetry ed, Noor, noted that she wouldn't vote on her own poems. The following conversation ensued in comments on that note.

Omer: Is not voting on your own poem the same as having your cake and eating it too? I have no idea what this proverb means and I have spent the last 15 years of my life trying to figure it out. It never works in any context.

Afia: Or one could say it always works in any context. You have your cake, ergo you eat it.

Omer: Of course, you can ALWAYS have your cake and eat it. But the proverb is you CAN'T have your cake and eat it too. Why the hell not? That's what I don't get. It's your cake. You can do whatever you want with it. If you have it, you can definitely eat it too.

Afia: Oh yes, of course. You're right, I'd turned the proverb around on its head. I think what it means is that you can't get everything you want exactly as you want it. For instance, I'd put the cutlets on to fry and then come to check my mail in the meantime. Ideally, I would've checked my mail and gone back, flipped over the cutlets and found them a perfect golden brown. INSTEAD I spent a few extra minutes reading your comment and by the time I went back, the cutlets were BURNT. So I got to check my mail, as I wanted, but I couldn't check it fast enough to get the cutlets to turn out right. Does this apply?

Omer: No, I think the proverb, "A poor workman always blames his tools" is more apt in this scenario.


  1. HAHAAHAHA! This is why I love editing poetry for DWL. Not for the poem, no sirree, it's for these hilarious conversations. Since we are so clever and witty, our comments end up on Papercuts banners and what not, a testament to our cleverness and wit.

    1. This team is the best, seriously. I love you guys.

  2. This is a hilarious conversation and I have always struggled with the proverb...I mean you have your cake FOR the purpose of eating it no? Anyways, I think I finally figured it out! If you eat your cake, you will no longer have it. That is, the cake and the eating cannot exist in the same time; the act of eating it will cause said cake to 'disappear'. So you cannot sustain the existence of your cake...does this make sense?

    1. Hey how'd I miss this? Yes absolutely, Fatima... that's exactly what it means.

  3. Zindagi me jitna bhi karo saaala kum parh hi jaata hai.
    This . This is what they should be teaching you in school rather than about cakes and tools