It’s an age-old question: is the glass of water half-full or half-empty. Conventional wisdom says the answer hinges on whether you’re an Optimist (half-full) or a Pessimist (half-empty). But conventional wisdom is often simplistic, and this is no exception. The truth is far more complex.

Yes, in theory an Optimist will say the glass of water is half-full, and a Pessimist will say the glass of water is half-empty. But the human population is not divided solely into Optimists and Pessimists. For example:

  • An Excruciatingly Correct Realist will say the glass is full, half with water and half with air.
  • An Engineer will say the glass is twice as big as the project requires.
  • The Arizona legislature will say an illegal immigrant drank half of your water.
  • Critics on the right will say President Barack Obama drank half of your water, and Glenn Beck will refill it with his tears.
  • Critics on the left will ridicule Glenn Beck’s tears while agreeing that President Obama drank half of your water, except for those who insist it was White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
  • President Obama’s defenders will say the glass is a necessary compromise between emptiness and fullness.
  • Vice President Joe Biden will say “that’s a big f-ing glass.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will filibuster refilling the glass.
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will get 60 votes to refill the glass halfway.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will shatter the glass against the ceiling.
  • House Minority Whip Eric Cantor will insist the glass was shattered by a rock thrown at his office, until police reveal that it wasn’t his office.
  • Kentucky Tea Party GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul will drink the rest of the water in your glass because you should be free choose your own beverage.
  • A Pentagon General will commission a Working Group for a year-long study of whether refilling the glass might affect force readiness and morale.
  • Halliburton will ask for a no-bid contract to refill the glass with sewer sludge.
  • British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward will say there really isn’t all that much oil in the glass and complain that he wants his life back.
  • Wall Street bankers will sell derivatives that pay off if the glass remains half-full, other derivatives that pay off if it remains half-empty, foreclose on the glass after you sip from it, make you pay off the derivatives, and take home million-dollar bonuses.
  • Ms Crissie, your lowly mail room clerk, will suspect Professor Plum found and drank from the glass.
  • Chef will say she measured the water for a breakfast recipe.
  • The Professor of Astrology Janitor will argue with the Janitor Professor of Astrology about who spilled the missing half of the water.
  • P. Porcine, the Earl of Swinesty and BPI’s Villain Emeritus, will say it must have been the Danes, or one of those five gentlemen from New Jersey who don’t know about each other and we plan to keep it that way, capice?
  • And the BPI Squirrel will ask you to to please empty, clean, and dry the glass because he was using it to store nuts.

Because we all thirst for more than enlightenment.