Me And My Eggs

I keep all my eggs in one basket. I have several baskets, obtained during what I like to think of as my “basket-acquiring years”, but there is only one in which I put my eggs. This is a small, oval, wicker basket, a bit tatty with age, which I keep on one side of the countertop in my kitchen. My other baskets I use for a number of different purposes, in different parts of the house, and outside. One purpose to which they are never, ever put is for the keeping of eggs. The eggs always go in their designated basket.

I usually buy half a dozen eggs at one time. Invariably, they come packaged in a cardboard egg-carton specifically designed for the storage of eggs. Some people are happy to leave the eggs in the carton once they get them home. That is their choice and it is not one with which I would argue, unless I was in a frantic and fractious frame of mind and, at the end of my tether, looking for a pretext to blow my top and indulge in a violent argument. Shouting my head off about the pros and cons of different egg storage possibilities can be a splendid way to let off steam. In general, though, I tolerate the practice of leaving the eggs in the carton you bought them in, so long as my own preference for putting my eggs in a basket is accepted in return. It usually is.

It would be a mistake to think that six is the maximum number of eggs in my basket. I make it my habit to buy a new carton of eggs when there is still one egg, or even two, in the basket. Thus the maximum number is seven or eight. When adding the newly-bought half dozen eggs, what I do is to remove, temporarily, the one or two eggs remaining in the basket, put the fresh eggs in, carefully, and then place the one or two older eggs, even more carefully, on top of the clutch. If I did not do this, the same one or two eggs would always remain at the bottom, and might never get used, and they would rot, from the inside, unbeknown to me until such time as I cracked the shell and released an unutterable Lovecraftian stench.

Placing the one or two older eggs atop the clutch is not without risk, of course. When removing them temporarily from the basket, I cannot simply place them on the countertop. If I were to do that, they might, being egg-shaped, roll all the way off the countertop and smash upon the floor. Mopping up egg innards and shattered shell is never a pleasant business. Thus I first lay out a tea-towel on the countertop, and put the older eggs on that, to avert any rolling. It has been suggested that I might temporarily place the older eggs in one of my other baskets. Superficially attractive as that may be, I loathe the very idea. As I insisted at the outset, I like to keep my eggs in one basket.

One great advantage of my system is that I have an empty egg carton to muck about with. Judicious use of scissors and paint and glue can transform the carton into a few hats for gnomes. There are lots of other things you can do with empty egg cartons, of course, but that is the one I always return to. My gnomes are always losing their hats in high winds.

Now. A terrible thing happened last week. I was at a swish cocktail party, leaning insouciantly against a mantelpiece, when I heard, above the hubbub, a snatch of conversation. One of the guests, in a voice as strident as a corncrake’s, said “Well, you know what they say, never keep all your eggs in one basket”. It is hard to describe the effect these words had on me. They came with the force of a thunderclap. I felt unmoored from all that was familiar, all I held dear, all I knew. “They”? Who were “they”, who said this, with such confidence, such authority? Steadying myself against the mantelpiece, I stood on tiptoe, craning my neck to peer over the heads of the partygoers, trying to see who it was who had said these awful, hideous words.

There could be only one culprit. He sounded like a corncrake, and he looked like a corncrake, and now he was saying something about not counting chickens. I clutched at the mantelpiece, fearing I would swoon. No man should be allowed to live who could utter such things. My head throbbing, I felt in my pocket for my stiletto. Damn .. . . it was not there. Panicked, I rummaged in my other pockets, in vain. Then I remembered that I had left my stiletto at home, in one of my other baskets, the big, blood-soaked one, the one in which I keep my stilettos and knives and hatchets and axes and slicers and shivs.

Source : Me And My Eggs, by the lumbering walrus-moustached psychopathic serial killer Babinsky.

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