That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles


K is a freshman at USC studying American Studies & Ethnicity (African American Studies). He plays video games with his family.


If I’m playing a game, and I’m losing, and I understand why that’s happening, I go ‘well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.’ I think it was like my brother. And my sister. I can’t remember exactly which one, but we were playing a game together. I think it was on Nintendo, so I think it was Smash. And I lost to my siblings, like several times, because I’m not very good at that game. They’re like masters. And I’m just like, ‘well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.’ Because like, I had basically no chance to win from then to there. But most of the time they’ll be kicking my ass. Like every which way.


There are lots of variations on this saying, such as “such is life,” or “it is what it is.” Essentially, this particular saying seems to represent another way to express how it all breaks down — how everything happens. To people who use it, it seems to denote an acceptance of an unpleasant reality, in which nothing can be changed about how what’s happened has happened, or how the cookie has crumbled. The idea that it is specifically a cookie crumbling, however, rather than a cake or any other sweet, denotes a focus on a sweet that easily drops crumbs. Cookies often take the form of a more brittle baked good, and that means if it is broken, it drops a lot more pieces and crumbs of itself. When a cookie crumbles, one would not know how it does, just that it does and they lose a piece of the sweet baked good. This is, interestingly, the other side of a snack eaten commonly together, while used the same way. Cookies and milk are often eaten together, and there is a saying that goes “There is no use crying over spilt milk.” The same meaning is derived from both — reality has already occurred, and there is no use dwelling on it.