You Get Bitter or You Get Better. Or You Get Butter.
Literally, you can get butter.
A wise man once said, “You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple.”
I think it was a man, anyway. I came by this bon mot secondhand.
For that matter, whether he was wise generally — or just had a specific moment of wisdom — might also be open to debate. In any event, this person went on to say (or write): “You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.”
You get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple.
Or is it?
I’ve done some research of my own, and I’ve concluded that it might be an oversimplification to narrow one’s choices in life to (1) getting bitter and (2) getting better. It could be that I was baking cookies when I was also thinking about this philosophical reduction, and when I discovered that I was missing a key ingredient, I had a revelation, namely that when faced with a crisis — when life hands you lemons, in other words — you can get bitter, you can get better, or you can get butter.
“You either get bitter or you get better” is an example of what logicians call a false dilemma — an informal fallacy based on a premise that erroneously limits what options are available. In other words, “It’s that’s simple” significantly understates how simple it is, because it’s actually 50% less simple than that, being that there’s a third possibility. And that third possibility is getting butter.
In case you think that “butter” in this context itself refers to something esoteric or obscure — or is perhaps an acronym for something like Bringing Uncle to the Emergency Room — please understand that I am talking about garden-variety butter, the pale yellow edible fatty substance made by churning cream. You might have some in your refrigerator or freezer right now — or out on your counter, because butter can be kept at room temperature, though not for longer than two days, according to the United States Department of Agriculture — and getting it might be just what the moment calls for.
Did you know… that the word butter comes, via Latin, from the Greek for “cow-cheese”? I didn’t. I just looked that up. Did you know… that butter can be made from the milk of not just cows but sheep, goats, donkeys, horses, water buffaloes, and yaks as well? Did you know… that the world record for butter-eating is seven quarter-pound sticks of salted butter in five minutes by Donald Lerman. Now, there’s a man with an open mind!
So, my friends, you have more options than you might realize. When circumstances change and the opportunity to respond meaningfully knocks, you can in fact take what you’ve been dealt and allow it to improve you, or you can let it tear you down, or you can get some butter… and you can combine that butter with flour, eggs, and milk in a bowl. And do you know what you have then?