Each time we buy a new carton of eggs, I write my husband a message—one word per egg. It cracks him up—no pun intended—and is a little gesture of affection. Recently I wrote: The way you stare at us makes us nervous. Besides this group of eggs were tidbits of previously cracked and emptied shells. Last week I wrote: Do you think white makes us look fat? And on another carton: Oh my God! Which one of us will be the next to die? Two weeks ago there was something about how he was eggsactly the right person for me, which inspired a few egg-themed jokes and comments when he posted it to Facebook. This sure has put playing with one’s food on a whole new level.
I can’t look at eggs at the grocery without wondering which pack will better suit the length of the message I plan to write—12 or 18 eggs. And if I were to get the brown eggs, would that lead to a whole series of statements about representing minorities? I usually get cage-free vegetarian fed hens' eggs. Maybe I should play on this, too. “We endorse soy and meat-alternative choices,” they might read one day, “so put the chicks down.”
The eggs one buys are actually unfertilized products. They are chicken-wannabes stopped tragically mid-cycle. They are peepless wonders of perfection to me. I love their smooth ovals and have spent time photographing both whole eggs for the beauty of the light caressing rounded surfaces and cracked shells for their qualities of translucence. It is an examination of simple things, simple wonders. Yes, there is certainly a simple joy to opening a fresh carton of eggs and finding, as my husband did this week, two perfect rows of animated faces drawn on waiting eggs. I hope the chickens understand and forgive us both.