Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Egg-straordinary circumstances; egg-straordinary measures*

Note: This column appears in the 3/29 issue of The Glendale Star and the 3/30 issue of the Peoria Times.

People often ask us why we’re vegetarians as opposed to vegans. The honest answer is laziness. The well-kept secret of the self-righteous vegetarian is that giving up meat is not nearly as difficult as people think. And while we agree with veganism and wish we could be part of the club … I mean, c’mon. I have always maintained it’d be infinitely more difficult for me to give up cheese than meat, and while I’m fine putting cheese on my fake burger, I am not cool with putting fake cheese or (gasp!) no cheese on my fake burger. I have to draw the line somewhere, and my line is made of cheese.

Yet something happened over the weekend that nudged us ever so closer to the vegan side, and it has me concerned there’s no going back.

Like many Americans, I have frequently enjoyed eggs. Last week’s column was about eggs, which is something that just now dawned on me, and which has proven somewhat embarrassing, but whatever. Granted, eggs-as-food has always fascinated me. I can’t help but imagine the ancient caveman saying to his friend, in caveman-speak, “Dude, a thing just came out of that bird’s butt. Let’s eat it.”

I also remember when I was first informed about what eggs actually are. I was a teenager, and not to be all dramatic, but it shook the very foundation of everything I thought I believed in. Shudders went down my spine and I vowed never to eat eggs again. The next day my willpower proved futile against the deliciousness of the diner omelet. If you do not know what eggs are, please look it up on the Internet, as I will not be going into detail here, unless you count the following story.

So I’m making eggs for my family last Saturday morning. I have cracked three of them in the bowl and everything is going great. Then I crack the fourth one, and I am instantly, horrifyingly reminded of what eggs actually are. Let's just say it was like watching blood come out of an egg, because that is exactly what happened. My reaction is to stare at the massacre and gag. My wife walks by, says, “How are the eggs com-AAAAHHHHHH! Throw it out! Throw it out!” I threw everything away, including the bowl. I gathered my family around the kitchen and said, “Family, we were going to eat eggs. But instead we will eat nothing … for the rest of our lives.”

My wife was very concerned that we’d be reimbursed for the eggs, but that was after she had to be talked off the ledge of “suing the egg company,” although I do think “emotional distress” would have been relevant here. I went back to the grocery store later that day, receipt in hand. I did not bring along the remainder of the eggs, trusting they’d take my word for it. And I mean word literally, my plan only to say, “Eggs … bad,” and pray I wasn’t asked for more details.

The cashier understood. She then asked, “Did you want to replace the eggs?” a question I answered with a penetrating I-have-just-seen-a-ghost stare. She understood. “Are you ever going to eat eggs again?” she asked. “Not where I’m at right now,” I responded, my words trailing off as I looked up to the ceiling, fighting back tears.

I got my two dollars back in cash. “Is there a vegan aisle here?” I thought to myself. In my search I got distracted by some cheese, which I bought.

*I have been waiting five years to execute a horrible, egg-punned title. I’m scratching it off my bucket list. Alternate title was "Vegan yet? Not egg-xactly."


That time of the month.

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