A fundamental question discussed in all forms of media is "Can I have it all?".
At the micro level, the answer can be best illustrated in the Pickwick household through the topic of cake. The Pickwick family are fans of cake, setting upon it like a pack of hyenas around a decaying carcass, wherever it can be found. Mrs Pickwick however is a woman for whom cake and guilt are regular bed fellows, convinced that cake will be her downfall but at the same time enjoying the descent.
The female hyena applies a more basic approach to food with no apparent guilt - I must fill my boots as it is not everyday I have the opportunity to sink my gnashers into a dead antelope and it might be a long time before another one comes by. Mrs Pickwick applies the same principle in respect of cake.
The question of whether we can have it all becomes simple. As soon as the cake appears, there is no etiquette in its consumption. It is the law of the jungle. There is no question of all. Often there is not even a question of any. The basic problem is I live with a bunch of thieving bastards.
At the macro level, the question is a lot more difficult as having it all is quite a lot really. And as you get older, it is a fact of life that you may have it all but have forgotten where you left it or indeed forgotten that you had certain parts of it and are pleasantly surprised when you find it. There may also be bits which you do not want either because there are not enough hours in the day to handle them or you would choose not to if you could (e.g. having haemorrhoids).
So, having it all really means having some of it unless you have staff.
In my youth, I had a friend who managed a portfolio of girlfriends concurrently. I had deep respect for him thinking he had it all as I had great difficulty bagging even one. I was jealous of him but even then thought his endeavours seemed too much like hard work and my fledgling morals would not be able to cope.
Having it all tends to be viewed in terms of stuff, good job, contentment, adoring children and family that prefer you to be there than not. Of these, it is only the first which is quantifiable - the others will vary according to how much of an arsehole you are although this view may be influenced by the amount of stuff you have.
And having stuff is like having a well-stocked bathroom cabinet full of Preparation H - you can never have too much. Indeed, the only man I know with a dressing up box recently confessed to me recently that he needed to add to it as he had to go to a football match dressed as a banana and did not have the outfit. He had stuff, but he needed more.
I feel sorry for women with large jobs and lots of children referred to as super-mums when they are asked if they have it all. Their lives are defined by their children on the basis that as they squeezed all of them out, they have a vested interest in them. If I had to go through the same squeezing process, I would not want anything to do with the extruded material. God pulled a blinder by inventing maternal instinct.
The truth of it is that when the number of children passes a certain point, the management imperative is not to lose any. And as we know, even our dear Prime Minister has been known to mislay a child in his local pub which was either folly or a hitherto unknown coming of age ceremony.
So, do I have it all? Since the haemorrhoids cleared up, I cannot complain. And I have enough Preparation H to sink a battleship.Suggest a correction