The Egg and I

By Marc Dion

May 27, 2019 4 min read

I've been Trumped, obstructed, Korea-ed, Iran-ed, Alabama-ed and Mueller-ed nearly to death in the last few months, just like any newspaper columnist whose weekly column isn't titled "Gardening Tips From Rose" or "Church Doings."

I've spent 36 years in the Trade of Despair, as I call what some people call journalism, and I've sounded the alarm so much that my bugle is broken.

Still...

I'm a diner guy, a family habit I reinforced long ago in the land of the newspaper night shift, when editors were men, smoking was allowed in the newsroom, and by the time I got off work, nothing was open except bars and diners. In most of the cities where I worked, that was as true at 7 a.m. as it was at 1 a.m.

My father was a bartender when I was a kid, and his uneven schedule and small amount of spendable money meant that he picked diner breakfasts as our major father/son activity. It was a wholesome thing for us to do on the emotional side, back there in the mid-'60s, but the choking clouds of cigarette smoke and the thicker clouds of profanity in the diners may have been less good for me.

And I'm still going to diners. Fortunately, I live in a town with one of the highest poverty rates in the state of Massachusetts. Diners are plentiful, and they're not "ironic" diners, either, where hipsters with debit cards fumble after the ghosts of their manual laborer grandfathers, only to ruin the illusion by ordering a matcha latte.

So, this week, despite the thick, oily cloud of three-card Monte government oozing from what used to be the White House, I'll sound the alarm on scrambled eggs.

Even in the simplest sort of diner, a place where the working class inhabitants speak half-a-dozen languages, and you eat at the counter with your coat on, the scrambled egg is in peril.

Watch some of these short order cooks scramble an egg, and you'll see what I mean.

A properly scrambled egg is cracked into a bowl, and then beaten unmercifully with a fork or a wire whisk until it is uniform in color and has had some air beaten into its heart. You pour that on the grill, move it around fast with the spatula, and you have an egg, scrambled.

All too often, today's diner cook doesn't bother with the "scrambling" part. Instead, he/she cracks a couple eggs directly on to the grill, busts the yolks with the spatula, and then moves the whole mess around on the grill, using the edge of the spatula to chop the eggs into small fragments.

The result is not fluffy, and it is not a scrambled egg. It is a fried egg, chopped. If you let it cool down, and added mayonnaise, it would be egg salad. No amount of mayonnaise can make real scrambled eggs into egg salad. I do not like egg salad, anyway, not even if it's served hot with no mayonnaise.

My father wore a pinkie ring. He was not the kind of guy who took his boy outside for "a catch." Instead, he taught me to love books, and to know the difference between eggs over easy and eggs over medium.

And he taught me that a scrambled egg should be scrambled, not chopped.

Where do I stand? I stand for America. I stand for the scrambled egg.

To find out more about Marc Dion, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, "The Land of Trumpin'," is his account of the scrambling of American democracy. It is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay.

Photo credit: Pexels at Pixabay

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