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The Dog Poop and the Wedding Cake

bakerGustav, the baker, had just been told the good news that two of his dearest friends, Jonathan and Claire, had decided to join themselves in marriage. He leaped to his feet, and boldly declared, “I will make you the finest wedding cake I have ever created.” The looks coming from the newly engaged couple were stony and solemn, and Gustav could read their thoughts through their countenances. “My dear friends,” he said, I will be doing this for free. It is as much for my joy as it is for yours.”

Wide smiles spread across both of their faces. Gustav was known around the world for his cakes. In fact, people traveled from distant corners to taste his confections and share them with others. He spent long hours in his kitchen, preparing and building masterpieces for those who came seeking the uniqueness and pulchritude that he offered.

Jonathan and Claire left in a flurry of hugs and excitement.

As their wedding day rapidly approached, Gustav gathered all of the ingredients for his masterpiece. He studied out exactly what he believed would represent the true culinary gifts inside of him. He ordered new ingredients that he hadn’t tried before. He tested several recipes. He put his entire heart and soul into this cake because he knew that what he had inside of him was something that not only would dance on the taste buds… it would inspire those who tasted it.

There were only days left before his cake was to be delivered. He sat with an empty bowl, looking at his options. Which cake? he thought. Which cake will truly represent the baker Gustav? Which cake will be most delicious to the most people? He finally settled on what he knew all along was the right choice, and decided to go with chocolate.

Gustav toiled for three days over his chocolate cake. He baked a cake more dense, rich, and moist than any chocolate cake he’d baked in the past. He spent hours chiseling off the imperfections from each layer, and then hours more tenderly applying multiple layers of icing. He carefully crafted beautiful fondant patterns and layered them across the smooth surfaces of his cake.

As he labored, many passer-bys purposefully made their way by the windows of his shop to watch him work. Each day he set out a sample platter of different rolls and pastries to help satisfy their hunger. Each day the anticipation grew. Each day the excitement spread. And each day Gustav also felt more and more excited about what he was creating.

The morning of the wedding arrived. The air was perfect. The sun offered tender amounts of warmth to the occasional cool breeze. Gustav stood in the still empty reception hall, and with the skill of a surgeon he began to stack the layers of his cake, smooth out the final imperfections, and decorate the table with fine ornaments and linens.

When he had finished, he stepped back and looked at his finished presentation. It truly was beautiful and he felt that it did in fact represent what was inside of him. It represented what he wanted for Jonathan and Claire. It represented a beautiful future.

Continued on Next Page

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141 comments
Dirk
Dirk

One man's poop is another man's treasure

SherryTapiaDoss
SherryTapiaDoss

You can never make everyone happy but if you have done your best, then you should be happiest of all.

NonStop Mom
NonStop Mom

The life of a blogger......laboring and toiling over an incredible blog post, only to have the haters attempt to spoil it. Yet it still reaches people and affects them in a positive way.

KatarinaDobrick
KatarinaDobrick

I guess my interpretation would be "even though something has a tiny flaw or mistake, there is no reason to throw it away....the remainder of its parts are still perfect". I can place this in an example. Someone who I used to know came into my life over 6 years ago and saw me only for my flaw which is my fluctuation in my weight and couldnt stand to be with me even though I was doing my best to take care of that issue. I learned later that this person wasnt even worth my time from day one and all that matters in my life are those that do care about me.....my mom, my three furbabies and my girls (my bff's). Because of this thing that happened I have now been dealing with years of being hard on myself, disliking myself and my weight issue has become more of an issue unfortunately...though I have been taking care of it lately by exercising and attending meetings to help me with the weight loss. Never again will I allow someone to see me as just one part....if they dont like me for who I am then its their loss, because, I deserve better.

Marysmuse
Marysmuse

(hugs) Dan. Don't let anyone's poop ruin the cake for you.

ksnyder
ksnyder

I heard a similar story once that stuck with me.  A mother was making a cake and as she worked her teenage daughter came into the kitchen and asked to go to an R rated movie with friends. There was only a "little" obscenity in the movie she told her mother. The mother kept working and asked the girl to "please scoop up a half teaspoon of the cat's litter for the cake."  The girl was horrified.  "But it's just a "little" cat litter" her mother told her.  You won't even know it's in there.  Moral:  It takes only a little bit of filth to ruin a thing.

autumnthing
autumnthing

I find it interesting that you've put poop and cake together, SDL.  For years now, I'll often conjure up the image of a delicious, fragrant, moist chocolate cake [which, on a side note I don't prefer to spice or carrot cake] that is frosted with dog shit = shit cake.  I use this metaphor for how I sometimes experience single parenthood:  I have this fantastic, scrumptious gift, but it's covered in poo.  I can't waste it but I can't really enjoy it either.

Rebecca Fain
Rebecca Fain

Be grateful it wasn't an elephant.......

allielynnD
allielynnD

ignore the imperfections and apppreciate everything else that is given to you

Julie Miles
Julie Miles

This is great! You should get in touch with the folks over at CakeWrecks! As for the meaning, I think it means not to let the small things take away from the bigger picture. It shows that we let the bad things in life have more sway than the good, even when they turn out to be insignificant. The woman didn't destroy the cake, everyone far and wide was able to enjoy it, the baker received critical acclaim for his masterpiece, yet he dwelled on that one, tiny imperfection that wasn't even his fault.

Beth54
Beth54

For me, I understand Gustav's only thinking of the cake as "poop cake". I think that everyone has had a similar experience to some extent. We all get caught up in anticipation. I would have reacted as the couple and removed the "bad part" and enjoyed the rest. Many people can't get past the bad experience to get to the good. Half full or half empty. Interesting story

Gryffenne
Gryffenne

That there will always be self-absorbed people that think it is their right to poop on others for even the simple reason that it is not something they, themselves, like or believe in. They will censor/destroy/remove things THEY do not like, even if it harms no one, and will actually be shocked when and if they are called on it. Basically welcome to today's growing society of "If I don't like it, you can't have it!"

laa
laa

lots of folk, lots of opinions. but you know, there is always someone to poop on your cake, and yeah, that's negative, but think of it this way. What do YOU DO when someone poops on your cake. Do you cut it out and enjoy? or do you reject the whole because of one imperfection, not even of your doing?

Life is not to avoid the storm, but to learn to dance in the rain. Be afraid, but do it anyway. Courage is fear that does it anyway.

Kristi
Kristi

Lots of thoughts with this one.....I think it represents a person who works so hard to acheive things, to create and to love others. No matter how wonderful you are there will always be someone with a diffrent opinion, selfish or just jealous. A true person looks beyond and continues to be who they are. Kinda like Jesus, giving and loving, but their are still those who try and destroy him.

Rhonda
Rhonda

Whoa! Yup, we've all had someone poop on our cake at some time in our lives. It took the wisdom of my older (and only) sister to help me realize we all have choices. CHOICES are as easy as the snap of a finger. True, man does not live on an island, and obviously we are effected by comments and gestures from others. However, when one harbors anger, resentment or chooses to feel less of a person, those feelings only hurt YOU! Don't give away your power! Make a choice to let those insults slide off of you. I call it my "teflon cover." Just slides right off! Ha! Now who pooped on who's cake?

meli
meli

It is so much easier to see goodness and kindness. People who go out of their way to emotionally scar people are tortured souls. I think at one time or another we have all been on the receiving end of harsh criticism. We have all probably been in the presence of the person being criticized. We all have opportunities to be heroes to the person being attacked. To be silent while another is being attacked is a kind of passive participation. Please choose to be an ambassador of kindness and a protector of the hurting.:)

h.p.
h.p.

dunno why this thought came to mind but I think you are Gustav and the cake (probably) this blog.

Livie
Livie

I'm also really disheartened that so many people have said, "there will always be someone to poop on you cake" How negative. I agree that WHEN people do poop on your cake you have to keep going, but I can't say that every accomplishment I've ever made was pooped on. I would NEVER expect it to be.....I might not be surprised, but I won't expect it. Sometimes....I succeed and no one says anything but good job.

Livie
Livie

It's easy to see yourself as the baker when you read this...thinking of how other people have pooped on your accomplishments. But I actually found myself thinking more about that terrible woman. She didn't like something so she ruined it for everyone else. Found myself wondering if I'd ever done that (you know bitching about something I think is stupid so others can't enjoy it). I can think of lots of times someone has done that to me, but it's worse that I can think of a couple times I've done it to someone else.

Lenna
Lenna

Thank you for this, Dan. I'm going through a family situation at this moment, where someone is allowing their hurt feelings over some small and unintentional wrong to cause them to taint what should be a happy and joyous event, in just this way. I hope someday I'll be able to hold their baby girl without hearing echoes of the ugly messages and hurtful actions of the Battle of the Birth, and that she'll never know about it. Sadly, most of the "issues" aren't even real, but misunderstandings and assumptions that don't even relate to the events.

I wish people would simply understand: joy isn't a zero-sum game. The more you give away, the more you have. When you try to ration it or hoard it, you're left without even the amount you started with. When you set out to sully someone else's portion, you hurt yourself as much as them. Joy only grows and satisfies when it's shared. Joy in chains is reduced to bitter pleasure, at most.

Alicia
Alicia

The first thought that comes to mind, is HOW did the lady know it was chocolate? He kept it top secret, and then kept it covered. You can't tell by looking at it, so HOW did she know?

cdrushin
cdrushin

I love this story. It represents so many porblems in the world. There are people who are so bitter and hurt that they can't bear to see anyone happy, and there are people who don't understand that not everything is done for them. I was very sad for not only Gustav but also for his friends and the hurt this women did to them, and for her that she was such a petty person tht she could not see that Gustav made chocolate becase he wanted to give his best for his friends, not becase anyone else liked or dislike it. I love that Gustav's friends loved him enough to rise above the lady and show him their appreciation and love. It shows me that even though Gustav was the best he still doubted himself in some ways and cared what the world thought of him too much. The ulitimate message to me is we need to share our talents and love and give our very best to everyone and love ourselfs enough not to let the bad overshadow the good in our lives. You can't please everyone and there will always be haters in this world, but you can know your own personal worth and treat everyone with respect and love.

MicheleA
MicheleA

i've had people "poop" on my best accomplishments and declare them nothing. unfortunately, it was usually someone who should have been wholeheartedly on my side who was best at making me feel like i was less than nothing. i realize now it was out of jealousy and self contempt that she was projecting onto me, but it is still hurtful. i can only hope she can stop hating herself so that she can learn to love herself and others while there are still people willing to speak to her.

Kimberly
Kimberly

You can't please everyone and there will always be someone who is so narcissistic that they need to disrupt the world to show their displeasure. It's a shame to allow that one person to alter the reality of a really really good product, dream, or experience.

cindy
cindy

even though he made it as a gift to friends, somebody was offended. there will always be somebody who is offended no matter what you do so don't worry about those life suckers, those joyless assholes who love to make others miserable. the husband and wife did the best thing, clean it off and go on. I would have been one of the ones to stay and have alot of cake.

Julie
Julie

I teach music at a K-8 school. I have a class with four people who are constantly throwing dog poop on the cake. Not participating, just criticizing what everyone else does and making the class miserable. I will be reading this to them when I see them again. Maybe it will change an attitude or two.

Thank you for writing this.

Paula
Paula

A very thought-provoking post ...

One memory it brought to me: about 12 years ago, we flew to Guam for my husband's brother's wedding. My in-laws in Guam own a catering/baking business and have a commercial kitchen. When we arrived, I found out that I was in charge of making the wedding cake! For 3 days before the wedding, I mixed 3 different types of cake for each layer, frosted, and decorated, completely leaving my husband, 5 year old son, and toddler to their own devices. When the big day came, I was so relieved when the cake was successfully transported and set up at the reception hall. Job over! Vows were exchanged, photos taken, a bite of cake exchanged.

In Guam, their tradition is to serve desserts at the reception and send guests home with boxed "groom's cake". The family takes the cake home, and splits it up, and the bridal couple freezes the top layer. HOWEVER, in all the excitement of the day, no one remembered to bring the cake home after the reception. When we finally did, hours later, and went back to get the cake, it was GONE. Divvied up among the staff, I suppose. So after all that work, only a bite of the cake was ever enjoyed by anyone we knew...

MLF
MLF

I feel like Gustav when I teach my graduate classes and put my heart and soul into it. Then when I read the evaluations there might be two out of 20 that aren't positive. I allow those two evaluations to change my perceptions of the class and somehow those two will negate the other 18 "what a great class" comments. It frustrates me when I allow myself to do this to myself.

Amy
Amy

To me it says many things.. First.. no matter what, you can never please everyone. Second.. though we may have done something that is phenomenal, even to the very best of our ability, we allow ourselves to be crushed by something very mundane. And third.. no matter how hard you work, or how passionate you are about it.. there is always going to be someone who will "crap" on it.

Kay
Kay

I see it as a Christian metaphor. How many have desecrated Christ's greatest gift to us? How many have turned their backs on it or accepted but would not taste? It's a thought provoking story. Thank you!

Samarium
Samarium

I feel sad for Gustav because he will never truly recover until he can forgive the individual who not only spoiled the cake but also made unkind remarks about him personally. Carol Luebering wrote: "You NEED to forgive so that you can move forward with life. An unforgiven injury binds you to a time and place someone else has chosen; it holds you trapped in a past moment and in old feelings." Until Gustav forgives that dog-poop-lady he is 'bound to the time and place' that she chose to humiliate him and ruin his gift. The only way to move beyond it is through forgiveness. Forgiving her has to come from understanding that she is human and her actions are more about her past experiences than they are about his chocolate cake. Gustav must get to a place where he can love her and release her, feel pity for her and hope that she will eventually find some kind of peace. Through forgiveness, Gustav can arrive at a place where he can learn from the experience and move forward with his career and be able to truly revel in the joy his baking talents and his presence brings to the world.

Fred
Fred

In what ways do we poop on the cakes others have made? It is much easier to be judgemental than compassionate!

Joy
Joy

I see myself in the "pooper" I'm ashamed to say. I tend to be negative and frequently make negative remarks in person and online (mainly Facebook). I am the center of my universe, and its incredibly selfish. I will remember not to put poop on anyone's cake, and hopefully I will succeed at turning this around. I know I don't like it when others put poop on my cake. I just didn't see how much I was doing it to others before.

Trayzface
Trayzface

Sh!t happens! Dust it off and carry on as there will always be lots of other people who appreciate what you do!

Santear
Santear

My interpretation is this. It is about how some people will ruin the joys od others, because they can't share the joy with them. It also shows how many people wil let one person's actions prevent them from enjoyiing the best things in their life.

The point is just, because you don't like something doesn't mean you should ruin it for everyone else. Also you shouldn't let those people stop you from enjoying your life or something you love.

stacy
stacy

Shit happens. Deal with it and move on.

Becki M.
Becki M.

To me, it shows that we all must be careful of "pooping" on someone else's parade. I, myself, have caught myself doing it once in a while, when someone upset me or did something I didn't like, I reacted. I have learned and try my hardest to stop myself from doing it, and now it is coming more naturally. If it is someone else's big day, let them enjoy it! Forget about your own feelings for that one day and just let them enjoy it! Because "pooping" on someone's big day could affect them and follow them for the rest of their life, even when you have forgotten you did it, they can still be affected by it. And lately, you may have heard a lot about bullies and kids committing suicide because of it, it is very depressing having someone constantly tormenting you, but not all people who commit suicide or are depressed, are that way because of constant torment. They may be that way because someone "pooped" on them or something they did, just once. Once is all it takes! So be mindful of your actions and how they may affect others.

stacy
stacy

That is a very sad story.

Touched
Touched

This post really struck a nerve with me. I grew up LDS, and I'm still very active. However, when I was a teenager, I got involved very heavily with the boy I was dating and we ended up doing things that I believed people shouldn't do until they get married.

After a couple of years, I finally got the nerve to go and talk to my bishop about it. I prayed, I read my scriptures, I repented...and I truly believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have completely forgiven me.

But I am still scared about how the rest of the world sees me. Though I see myself as wonderful and clean (and as a delicious cake), I can't help but notice that a lot of people still only see me as the section of cake with dog poop on it.

I wish the rest of the world could understand how wonderful the rest of the cake is! The piece of cake that touched the dog poop is completely gone, never to come back. I'm so thankful for the Jonathan's and Claire's in my life; my husband, my family, and my close friends. If it weren't for them, I think I'd still see myself as the slice of cake that touched the poop.

Dede B
Dede B

I really needed this today...it's kind of funny...I normally read your blog every day, but for whatever reason I missed this one...until just now. And, I read it immediately after putting this in my facebook status..."Not feeling particularly joyful, or merry, or charitable. Have had a miserable few days. Thank you to my true friends for your constant love and support. And to those of you (you know who you are) who can't be put into the "true friend" category... you no longer get to dictate to me. I am deleting you from my life in all aspects. I will no longer allow insignificant people make me feel bad about myself." I REALLY really needed to read this blog post today, this minute. It's funny how that happens sometimes. Thank you so much Dan, you are an amazing human being.

pookie
pookie

Poor Gustav. At least his friends loved him for his effort.

deanna
deanna

I am not adverse to a little poop in my wedding cake. It's character building, adds a little j'en sais pas quois.
And to my dissenters I say, "Let them eat - well whatever they want - but stay away from my cake!"

Mary
Mary

be confidant in knowing with in your self that everything you do is a work of art, some can never see out side of the closed little reality they live in and memory, let it be the Best most beautiful dog poop cake ever made and love it...you can change someone elses disease only to the level they will give up their Dis-ease

keeping on
keeping on

It reminds me that I don't want to look on anyones accomplishments with disdain. I desire to encourage others to do their best and then reward their acheivment. I need to remember that the way I would do things isn't the only way and that I need to allow others the opportunity to express themselves. And just because I may not like something doesn't mean it itsn't beautiful.

Variety
Variety

You can't please everyone. If you try, you're just going to give yourself an ulcer or a heart attack. We have to do what is best for us, and try to put our heart into everything we do.

Do what you love, and do it well.

And yes, as others have said, there will be people who "poop on our cake" or "rain on our parade" or any other metaphor. To some people, we'll never be "good enough." I grew up hearing, "that was great, but . . . " I'd get the highest score in a piano festival: "good, but . . ." I'd make the winning basket in the basketball game and hear: "congrats, but . . ." It has taken years for me to believe that I am good enough and be happy with my best.

Do your best, and don't worry about what others think or say.

The best we can do is the best we can do. I guess, we just all have to get to the place where we're okay with ourselves. And good luck to everyone trying to do just that.

Julie
Julie

Well, I know I want some cake now!

Dot
Dot

Shit happens

Mary
Mary

There's always going to be some poop in our lives. I refuse, REFUSE, to let it poison the rest of my life, my cake, my whatever fabulous thing I am involved with. The "poop" was really all about the sad, little person who shared it. It's about their misery and wanting the rest of the world to join them in it. They (small spirited people) have only what power to bring us down that we give them. Today I choose to not give them power over me.
As always, thank you for your incredible posts. Thank you for making me think!
PB&J!

Gloria
Gloria

Sounds to me like Gustav got back what energetically he put into it.. If Gustav believed wholeheartedly in his gift and his creation and purely anticiapted the delight of the recipients that would have been his experience. Because there was enough concern about people not enjoying his cake he invited that into his experience as well. Thanks for the story.

Michelle
Michelle

Good point! I hadn't thought of it that way...kind of a you attract what you project thing.