How To Crack An Egg
It’s the simple things in life that you usually don’t bother to understand. This is particularly true if you’re have a physical disability from very early life. You watch your father cook maybe once, it being difficult to see the countertop from a seated position, and after that you hear words like boil, sauté, fry and they literally mean nothing. Everything is simply something that Dad does standing in front of a stove. The idea of me, heat, metal, and sharp objects strike most people as a very bad combination. So when someone is always going to fry your eggs for you, you never learn what exactly frying an egg means.
Three weeks ago, when I committed myself to learning how to crack an egg, I couldn’t even think of holding one. The logic in my head went something like this: eggs are wrapped in special containers at the store, despite this, they still often break before one gets them home, the empty eggshells I see are brittle and paper thin. Ergo: eggs are extremely fragile and given my hand’s amazing ability to crush things I have no business holding them. When my friend asked me to hold an egg for the sake of warming it up from the fridge, my hands shot to behind my back and I took a step away.
I’m not sure why I even was so determined to learn how to crack an egg except that’s it’s the most difficult thing that I could think of to do. Holding one for the first time was shocking: its weight was something which was unexpectedly assaulting to my system. I thought they would be like air to hold, a brittle shell which would require just the pads of the fingertips to touch. In my twenty five year old brain, an egg felt like paper Mache, having never touched one for myself. What I found was a slippery stone that was so unexpectedly smooth that it took all five of my fingers to hold onto it.
“You’re going to have to whack the thing harder than that if you ever want to crack it,” my friend stated as I gingerly knocked it against the bowl. I was afraid the shell would end up in the bowl. Which it did. And the entire contents of the egg ended up in my lap. The worst outcome possible of attempting to crack an egg had come to reality. And the world did not end. So we move on, grabbing another egg out of the pack. (I had bought one of those super cheap value packs with fifteen low quality eggs for under a pound. I figured if I ever showed a real talent for consistently cracking eggs successfully, then I might be able to move on to organic grade free range eggs.)
The thing is about eggs, they are built in such a way that seems like they are meant to be cracked. Between the support of the yolk to the membrane which keeps the shell together after it’s cracked, man has yet to engineer any better form of packaging. But I never knew that because I had never come near holding one. The fact of my inexperience was interpreted as I could not crack an egg when, in actuality, I simply didn’t know how. To complicate the situation I technically could tell someone exactly how to crack an egg. I knew how to complete the task in theory but because I knew nothing about an egg itself, I was petrified of doing it at all. My own condition didn’t directly stop me from accomplishing a task, it was simply a lack of occurrence.
In a way, that lack of experience is them most disabling thing about being disabled. When three different therapists are watching you at age seven attempt to pour juice into a cup, there isn’t much room for the spills that come whenever you are gaining experience. And when Mom has always poured your juice for you, how can you even remotely begin to know what fine motor skills it really takes to hold a jug. There’s so much of the world you don’t even know how to begin to experience unless you can sit there and honestly be given a chance for a raw egg to fall into your lap. It’s not that you don’t know unless you try, it’s that you don’t know until you’re given the opportunity to really make a mess in order to figure out how things work.
Six days later, my friend and I made a fifteen egg omelet for a dinner party. It was made of free range eggs.