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 reflected upon the first time I tried my hand at oomancy. Or perhaps, I muse, oomancy tried its hand at me: I had not intended to use the eggs for divination, but does it not in retrospect seem possible—even likely—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.

—You who are wise in egg-boiling will know that there is no way to test whether the eggs 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. You may also have the wisdom to know what I forgot: namely that a compulsive haste and a desire to bend the passage of time are inimical to exactitude.

In any case, I arrived at the SUB, shuffling in sheepishly to the room shortly after the service had ended, and set my out breakfast-cargo on the table. Upon seeing the eggs, my friend remarked that I had brought no implements with which to crack them: I, to whom, although sympathetic towards this point, it would never had occurred to bring utensils for that purpose, could think of no course of action but to demonstrate my family’s traditional method of egg-cracking, namely, knocking the egg firmly against the forehead:—and smashed the runny, undercooked egg all over my face.

For my friend's part, he told me, his mirth more than made up for the loss of the eggs. As for me, I was embarrassed and bemused, and ascribed to the episode no more significance than as a lesson to hallow the timing of boiling 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?