Empty? Full? World offers more options

We've all heard the question, "Is the glass half empty or half full?" Supposedly, the optimist opts for half full, while pessimists notices only what's missing.

But in our complex world of so many personality types, is it fair to divide people into just optimists and pessimists?

I would imagine a realist like me will respond, "The glass is half empty, but at least there's still something to drink."

A paranoid person might snarl, "Hey, who's been drinking from my glass? I wonder if he has a cold sore."

Martha Stewart, a self-reliant optimist, might chirp, "The glass is half full, and I can fill it the rest of the way later... once I get out of jail."

An existentialist might ponder, "Is the glass still there when I look away?"

A person with borderline personality disorder (think Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction) might rant, "That's the best glass I've ever seen, but the water in it is filthy! Get me a rabbit!"

A depressed person might moan, "The glass is half empty, but that's a step up from my totally empty soul."

An alcoholic might mumble, "Is that vodka in there?"

A woman with PMS might snap, "Yeah, it's half empty. The other half is retained in my legs and abdomen. Oy, vey!"

A person with attention deficit disorder might say, "The glass is... Hey, what's on TV?"

A high maintenance person like Zsa Zsa Gabor might say, "Darling, is that San Pellegrino?"

A germ-a-phobe like Howard Hughes might ask, "How long has that glass been sitting out there?"

A neurotic person might whine, "I see a glass, but I'm not sure if it's half full or empty. How do we know it's exactly 50 percent one way or the other?"

A government bureaucrat might dictate, "Let me fill out a form on this, and I'll get back to you with our response."

A lawyer might demand, "Define half empty."

A person with a Type A personality might bark, "It's half full. Now stop bothering me. I have work to do."

A people-pleaser will say soothingly, "We can make it whatever you want it to be."

A passive-aggressive person might say, "How should I know?" and shrug her shoulders.

A psychotherapist might probe, "How do you feel about the glass? Does the water evoke pre-birth memories?"

A co-dependent person might say, "Let me fill the glass for you! I'm sorry!"

In my medical practice, I see all types of people with different personalities, and it's always interesting trying to communicate clearly with each person.

As is evident from my examples above, people are more complex than attitude alone. Knowing how to deal with the myriad kinds of people whose paths we cross each day takes flexibility and tolerance. Overall, I believe that a good positive attitude will improve one's health.

Does that make me an optimist?

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