This is my brain. This is my brain on eggs
The next time you take one from the fridge, or the coop, consider the egg. What is that you’re holding in your hand?
I mean besides breakfast.
On second thought, let’s start there. This being the day of the year where eggs present themselves as a cacophony of clashing metaphors, let’s start with the first meal of the day.
Eggs, for reasons both sacred and secular, are a symbol of rebirth, of renewal. Center stage for (or so we’ve been told) the most important meal of the day, they establish a connection to our daily resurrection.
And with that awakening, comes the acknowledgment of fragility — even though nobody’s going to break our stride, oh no, we’re going to keep on moving — walking on sunshine like an Egyptian albeit walking on eggshells.
Students are said to have been given the assignment of “parenting” an egg back in 1986 in Philadelphia, as a way of teaching them what lies ahead when they have actual children — the ones they’d never hover over, lose track of, or drop to the floor.
It doesn’t take much to disturb the tranquility of an egg. Look at Humpty Dumpty — or, rather, what’s left of him after he’s taken his great fall from his wall.
It was Alice in “Through the Looking Glass” who first said ol’ HD looked like an egg. Until then, he’d been associated with any number of leaders who perched themselves too high only to come crashing down with a crack.
Uneasy is the head that wears the crown, Eddie da Vere wrote, particularly when the head in question is questionable.
Richard Nixon, running for vice president on the 1952 Republican ticket with Dwight Eisenhower, used “egghead” as a slur against the supposed intellectual elitism of Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson.
By the mid-60s, Egghead had become a villain on the TV series “Batman,” and the correlation among “too intelligent,” “elite” and “untrustworthy” had become part of our cultural landscape.
You don’t need to be a hard-boiled detective to uncover where that’s led us.
But while Nixon had a role in poaching the phrase for American pop culture, science fiction novelist Philip K. Dick — doing research for his alternative history novel “Man in the High Castle” — claimed that it was (who else?) the Nazis who used a similar term (eierkopf) in reference to the ease of attacking the defenseless.
Me, I’ve found many eggheads to be good eggs. Heck, some of us who are (in the words of songwriter Danny Birt) one egg short of a dozen seem to have pretty good heads on our shoulders.
Unless, of course well, you know:
“This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”
So you’re talking about getting the munchies, right?
It’s been said that in some restaurants, would-be chefs won’t get hired unless they can pass a kitchen test. Cook an egg.
And once again, we are left where we started, with the deceptively simple presence of that egg you are — metaphorically, at least — holding in your hand. The chef’s test is designed to leave contenders with egg on their faces.
You picture aspirants whipping together countless ingredients and demonstrating school-trained techniques to impress the chef and forgetting to make certain that it’s the egg itself that is cooked perfectly.
Still, like Schrodinger’s cat, what’s inside the shell is alive with possibilities until exposed to manipulation — which is what makes an egg such a convenient portal through which to send a message.
This morning, children will be scrambling through their homes and across fields of play in search of Easter eggs. No, not the “Easter eggs” that filmmakers hide within the scenes of superhero movies — those are the type of hidden messages that send adults whisking through the internet to find.
Get tangled up in that sort of Web search, though, and it takes all the mystery and joy out of discovery.
You can find why bunnies are associated with the holiday (never mind what they have to do with eggs).
You can find several explanations for the meaning of eggs in the story of the resurrection of Christ — everything from the shell being the cave to the tradition of painted eggs springing from a phenomenon that occurred before the eyes of a disbelieving Roman leader.
You can even, if you want, go down the rabbit hole and get scientific proof of whether the chicken or the egg came first. Competing theories, actually, for those who don’t want to put all their answers in one basket.
A couple of months back (an eternity by today’s cultural calendar), an Instagram post of a single egg doing not much of anything became a viral sensation and wound up having 9.2 million followers.
The addictive need to bandwagon onto momentary trends aside, there is something elusive about the intrinsic nature of eggs that compels us to come up with so many uses — culinary and cultural — for them.
We take an egg out of the refrigerator on any other day, and don’t give it a second look. One day a year, though, there’s so much more to be seen.
It makes you wonder whether any of those 9.2 million followers tagging an egg on Instagram saw anything at all.
The mother of Mail Tribune copy desk chief Robert Galvin, firstname.lastname@example.org, once forgot where she hid all the eggs for an indoor hunt. It took a couple of weeks, but they were found.