three dots …

On oomancy

Yesterday evening we had friends over to our apartment for our weekly oomancy session. As I was sweeping the floor in anticipation of their arrival, I thought back to the first time I tried my hand at oomancy. Or maybe oomancy tried its hand at me: I had not intended to use the eggs for divination, but in retrospect it is hard for me to deny that divination took place.

—Sorry: Oomancy is divination by means of eggs. Oo means ‘eggs’ (think ovo, but without the ‘v’), and mancy means ‘, divination by means of’. Put it together and you have ‘eggs, divination by means of’. I didn't know this either until about two weeks ago.

This particular morning was my assigned day to bring breakfast to share after the small religious service that took place in the Student Union Building early on Wednesday mornings, which I was accustomed to attend intermittently. I had decided to bring a variation on my family's traditional weekend breakfast: fresh blueberry muffins and medium-boiled eggs. Unfortunately, I insisted upon the being-fresh of the muffins at the expense of my presence at the service: that is, I baked them the morning of, rather than (as would have been sensible) the night before. I arose too late; I measured too carefully; I spent too long whisking the eggs; the hour to leave for the service passed me by. I said to myself, “No matter! I shall move with haste and outstrip the passage of the minutes!” Of course the passage of the minutes was indifferent to my haste.

If you have any experience with boiling eggs, you will know that there is no way to tell whether they are done (without cracking the egg open and thereby destroying the integrity of the boiled-egg experience): the only way to cook them the way you want to is to time them exactly. And if you know this, you will probably also know that haste and the desire to bend the passage of time are the enemy of exactitude.

Thus, having shuffled in sheepishly to the room shortly after the service had ended, I revealed my breakfast-cargo, we arranged them on the table, and, upon my friend remarking that I had brought no implements with which to crack the eggs, I, at a loss, demonstrated my own traditional method of egg-cracking, namely, I knocked an egg firmly against my forehead, and smashed the runny undercooked egg all over my face.

My friend told me that, for his own part, his mirth more than made up for the loss of the eggs. I was embarrassed and bemused. At the time I drew from this experience only the narrowly practical lesson of hallowing the timing of the eggs. Now, though, I am inclined to wonder: what mystical meaning did this ovum wish to communicate to me? Does a spiritual residue of its yolk still reside upon my forehead? What might the science of oomancy have to say about this event? Will I ever see clearly its true signification?