Writing Prompts

Portion Distortion: The “Bigger Half”

The miracle of feeding the multitude happens everyday in households with children. The last piece of cake must become two. Three pieces of leftover pizza must feed five. And so it goes.

Cake_fractions.svg (1)Every time I start to divide up food, I can count on my five year old saying, “I want the bigger half.” I can also count on my didactic nine year old replying, “There is no such thing as a ‘bigger’ half. Two halves are by definition the same size.”

Beyond questioning my ability to cut in a straight line, my younger son is on to something greater. In life, whenever something must be shared, it is rarely done equally. Fighting ensues over the bigger (or perceived bigger) slice. To quote the song, “Ana Ng” by They Might Be Giants :

When I was driving once I saw this painted on a bridge:
“I don’t want the world, I just want your half.”

The best solution? Have one child portion out the food, while the other child gets to pick their piece first. At least when it comes to cake, this ensures equality—right down to the millimeter. Real life is another matter.

Thanks to the Daily Post for the portion writing prompt.


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