The Bad Egg
by Bella Rum
People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. — Peter Drucker
I felt the skin pucker between my eyebrows as I watched the ribbon of blood swirl into the other three eggs along with the cup of sugar I’d just added. When I had first dropped the second egg into the bowl, the tiny red speck revealed itself. I’d seen it. I was certain I’d seen it. I even nudged the offending egg around the bowl with my finger (you can tell which one), looking for blood, but nope. No blood. I must have imagined it. Adding two more eggs to the bowl, I doubled down, and started whisking the eggs and sugar together.
I instantly saw the error of my ways. In forty-four years of cooking, only one other foul egg ever ruined a recipe for me. Forty-four years! This rotten, little egg ruined my average. I immediately thought of my sister. She always told me to crack my eggs in a separate bowl – one at a time – checking before I added them – one at a time – to other ingredients. She was not a risk taker.
The funny thing? Only a few days ago, I mentioned the ‘egg thing’ to H. We had a laugh about how serious she was about all that egg-cracking business, and how I’d only ever come across one bad egg in all those years. Then what happens? A couple of days later I get a bloody egg in my bread pudding.
My sister was supremely cautious, and Eagle-Scout-ready for any eventuality. She never went anywhere without an umbrella, sunscreen, assorted ointments, stain sticks, etc. – all the things needed to correct or prevent anything bad. Being with her was like carrying a big eraser around in your pocket. She could fix anything. She tried to make us all that way so she could protect us… from ourselves, I guess.
I’m a cautious person, but I’m also – like Dad – a time freak and impatient. Over the past forty-four years, I did not waste the extra few seconds to crack my eggs separately. I was snagged twice. I can live with that, but not without thinking of her. It was nice having someone around who cared enough to warn me not to crack all my eggs in one bowl, even if I didn’t listen.
There were four of us. My egg-cracking sister and I were the careful ones. My other sister took risks in her personal life, but was relatively careful in other areas of her life. Then, out of the blue, she took up gambling and religion about ten years ago. That’s been an interesting combination to watch. She won over two hundred thousand dollars at the blackjack tables a couple of years ago.
My brother is the big risk taker in the group, always telling me, “Do whatever you want, darlin’, this is your only shot.” He makes me nervous, though. I’ve watched him tread among the high branches his entire life. It’s worked well for him… so far. My egg-cracking sister and I always worried he would fall, but she is gone and he is still swinging for the fences. The irony is not lost on me.
I’m not sure what this all tells me. Maybe that we are who we are and can’t be much different than that? And that’s okay. Maybe we should swing for the fences every day of our lives because no matter how safe we play the game, we’re alloted a certain number of bad eggs in a lifetime, and it’s a crap shoot as to when they turn up and how much harm they cause? I don’t know, but, wild and crazy as it may seem, I’ll continue cracking all my eggs in one bowl, sometimes even when I have a lot of ingredients already in the bowl. Bella’s rolling the dice in the cul-de-sac. Playing it safe is for suckers.
Or not. 😉