Last year’s class-wide egg drop competition was an interesting event. We’d just packed our lives into U-Hauls and moved to a new city and new lives and new schools and weird new egg dropping competitions. We learned of the engineering project days before it took place and promptly forgot about it because of the 4 krafrigginbrivillion boxes we had stacked up everywhere. The night before the competition, the little man reminded us that he had to have a way to safely drop a raw egg from the second story of the school the very next day.
Parents are familiar with the pain of letting their kids down when they need them the most. Even the best parents can forget a fifth grade engineering project amid the chaos of transplanting a family of five. That’s when its time to pull out the age old heart-to-heart talk with the big eyed little darlings. “This is your project and the only way for you to learn not to procrastinate is to work hard to fix the problem. You made your bed and you need to sleep in it- but not until you finish your work.”
With the power of my heartfelt motivational talk he launched into action. After thinking about the many complex aspects of the egg and how it reacts to gravity and hard surfaces, my little engineer came up with a design so complex and advanced that I wont be surprised to see elements of it used on cars and space craft of the future. He took a shoe box and and used three pieces of Scotch tape to hold the egg in place on the bottom of the box.
Being a mere mortal I looked down my nose at what seemed at the time like a crude attempt to finish a project quickly so he could go to bed. Not wanting to squash his spirit, I said, “Ha! Good luck with that- I’m not cleaning up any egg so think about it before just climbing up the ladder and making a mess” which I punctuated with a loud sigh and a firm look. That’s when the future Frank Lloyd Wright climbed the tall ladder and dropped the box on the ground, hardly jostling the egg inside, much less breaking it.
I’m sure I had a hilarious look of surprise on my face when the box was opened and the unharmed egg was reveled. However, I was too surprised to notice any looks on my face. Instead I snatched the box with an egg taped inside it and climbed the ladder myself, saying something along the lines of: “I’ll show you the right way to drop an egg.” After trying two more times to teach my son a lesson about responsibility, I realized that the boy had engineered a working solution in moments with the barest materials… the work of a genius.
The next day his new teacher at his new school probably had the same look on her face that I started with the previous night. However, she let my little materials engineer approach the 20 foot ledge, reach out over the rail and drop his gift to modern science. When it was recovered by students below and discovered to be a success, many of the kids began crying foul- or more specifically- ‘hard boiled.’ The teacher in an effort to prove the kids wrong (and I’ll bet a million dollars, to see proof herself) took the egg and broke it in front of the class. She was probably as surprised as the other students to see egg running down her fingers. It was the only egg ‘tested’ for boiling during the event which is really kind of an honor if you think about it the right way.
Fast forward one year, and we find ourselves in a similar situation. The night before the project is due we watched the Einstein/Edison of our time tape a bunch of plastic grocery bags into a parachute. We watched the testing phase that evening and were not surprised to hear the next day that the egg survived and landed on target below. Apparently this year, it was not necessary to do random boil testing.
There was one stark difference between the two years. Last year, eggs were in abundance. The fridge was full of the few condiments we brought from our old lives and the Atkin’s diet food we’d bought at the closest Publix grocery store. This included dozens (with an ‘S’) of eggs. I loved eggs in almost any form; scrambled, fried with bacon, hard boiled, poached, sunny side up, runny yolk with hard whites, runny whites with hard yolk, cheese and meat omelets, and my absolute favorite, deviled.
When we had to get the one egg my young Leonardo DaVinci needed last year, there was no problem going to the fridge and just grabbing one. This year was a completely different story. With mere minutes before bedtime, we started to scramble for materials and came up short when hunting for eggs. Luckily a neighbor was able to crack their door enough to give us two eggs for the project. Once again, he only needed one.
For four and a half months of living the vegan lifestyle I’d stopped thinking about eggs altogether. I wrote them off when Engine 2 Diet author Rip Esselstyn said that the only two things wrong with eggs were the white and the yolk. That was when I realized there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room when it came to the incredible, edible egg.
However, since I used to like eggs so much I’ve been toying with the idea of asking my little genius to create a vegan egg substitute and then just sitting back and waiting for the omelets and deviled eggs to start pouring in. If anyone can do it, he will be able to. It might take some tape, but I’m sure it will taste like a real egg.