Morton's fork is a situation where all outcomes are unpleasant. Is there an expression or term that describes a similar situation, but instead all outcomes are pleasurable/beneficial except only one choice can be made.

Crude example:

If you have the option of either riding a nice train to destination and the fly back on a private plane, or fly in a private plane to destination and then take the nice train back. In both circumstances everything would be the same, and neither would do you a disservice. *That is assuming that neither both are working at 100% and nothing happens, or if something happens it is equally as likely it will happen in both situations.

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    You might say you are 'spoilt for choice'. But that is usually used when there are umpteen equally attractive possibilities. {CDO}: be spoilt for choice: to be unable to choose because there are so many possible good choices – Edwin Ashworth Jan 17 '15 at 16:14
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    Between a pillow and a soft place, but if you were Morton, you could rationalize a desirable outcome from any circumstance. – ScotM Jan 31 '15 at 1:56

This is Buridan's ass, though the phrase is generally used to designate the paradox that someone posed a choice between two exactly equivalent goods will be unable to choose either and will thus be compelled to forego both.

Should two courses be judged equal, then the will cannot break the deadlock, all it can do is to suspend judgement until the circumstances change, and the right course of action is clear. — Jean Buridan, 1340

The 'ass' in the phrase is a (hypothetical) hungry and thirsty donkey: set between a stack of hay and a pail of water it will die of hunger and thirst.

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I would call these "first-world problems," a slang term currently in vogue which means that such situations are the kinds of difficulties faced by affluent, pampered people who have never known real hardship.

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    Well that would be specific to first world people, just like my example. Third world problem: you either get to one chicken or one rabbit, say both are around the same size. Your dad loves chicken, but your mom loves rabbit, and only disappointment and happiness will come from making your choice. – Tyler Jan 25 '15 at 20:16

Two blossoming expressions:

Between a pillow and a soft place is an obvious reversal of the universally known and used between a rock and a hard place:

Fig. in a very difficult position; facing a hard decision.

I couldn't make up my mind. I was caught between a rock and a hard place.

Between a rock and a hard place expresses the meaning of the alternate definition for Morton's fork:


1.0 An argument used by John Morton in demanding gifts for the royal treasury: if a man lived well he was obviously rich and if he lived frugally then he must have savings.

1.1 A dilemma, especially one in which both choices are equally undesirable.

Emphasis mine

Pillow corresponds to rock in position and reverses the metaphorical meaning, while hard corresponds to soft in position and reverses it's metaphorical meaning. In the rock expression, the word picture implies struggling [or being captured] between two hard options. In the pillow expression, the word picture implies resting [or being coddled] between two soft options.

Although the current "definition" of the phrase seems limited to pleasant interpretive options, the metaphor Between a pillow and a soft place begs for a broad range of applications:

Describes a situation where something has two meanings to you, both of which warm your heart.

"Being with you makes me want to be a better person, sweetheart."

"Ah, I'm between a pillow and a soft place, honey."

Should I go with a first class plane ticket and return in the first class train sleeper? Hmm, maybe I'll go with the train and return with the plane. (Smile :-) It seems I'm between a pillow and a soft place.

Between House and Wilson

Derived from the television series 'House MD'

'Between House and Wilson' describes being in a place of good fortune, comfort, and abundance (As in between Dr House and Dr Wilson).

We'll have to upgrade your car rental sir. Would you like the Lexus or the Cadillac?

Well, I guess that puts me between House and Wilson, doesn't it?"

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