The life-or-death importance of how to properly eat an egg

The cover of The Lilliputians Newspaper April 25, 2016

My world is Lilliputian. The reality sinks in a little more each day. It’s an adventure to go from my door down the steps to the garden with my parcel of compost, heave it into the bin, pick up the few leaves that have fallen during the night, and back upstairs again. If I were a citizen of Lilliput and only six inches tall, that would be a herculean undertaking. I’d have a hero’s welcome when I returned. If I returned.

Last night, however, there was real excitement.

In the morning the monkeys came as usual. When I caught one trying to crack open a coconut on the ceramic tiles at the entrance to my door, I grabbed a stick and made loud, threatening sounds. He ran but I could hear him pounding again somewhere on the roof.

Out of sight, out of mind. Eventually the pounding stopped.

During the day I made my famous spicy sweet potato dip and bribed my neighbor. If she would do a Tarot reading for me, I’d ply her with rice crackers and dip. It doesn’t take much to lure either one of us from our separate isolation quarters.

It was a fabulous reading. I got the answers I needed. Then we did hers, paying no attention as a storm rolled in and rain pummeled the roof. Deep in spicy dip and Tarot, nothing could distract us.

Around eight p.m. she took her leave. The rain had stopped. Five minutes later my phone dinged. It was a WhatsApp message from my neighbor. There’s water pouring out of the light fixtures.

I rushed downstairs.

It was a flood of epic proportions. The kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom floors were wading pools. Half of her thick foam mattress topper was soaked. Rivulets of water trailed down the walls and streamed from can lights in the ceiling. She’d gotten a shock when she touched the light switch.

It was no mystery what had happened. The monkey, in his attempt to crack open the coconut, had broken fragile terracotta roof tiles. From the amount of water I seriously doubted there was any roof left.

It had only been eight days since I sent faithful household manager Ketut, home and told him to stay there and stay safe for the month of April. In a panic I called and relayed the story.

This morning he arrived, his perpetual sunny smile in place, and by noon the broken roof was fixed.

To revisit the Lilliputian reference, remember Gulliver’s Travels, the political satire written by Jonathan Swift in 1726?

When the small boat Gulliver was traveling in ran upon rocks, he swam to the island of Lilliput where he walked ashore and fell asleep. When he awoke he was surrounded by people less than six inches tall. They had tied him to the ground with hundreds of tiny ropes. He could easily break free, but he didn’t want to frighten them so allowed himself to be restrained until he’d gained their trust.

Gulliver learned that the Lilliputians were at war with a neighboring country. The source of their conflict was a disagreement over the proper way to eat an egg. He agreed to help them.

In Bali and elsewhere, people are being encouraged to shelter in place. But those of us doing so are a bit like Gulliver. We’re allowing ourselves to be restrained.

In time, cooped up in tight quarters, even if it’s done willingly, patience grows short, tempers flare, and something as ridiculous as the proper way to eat an egg can become the most important priority of life. Be on the lookout for such silliness and take a step back to consider before you engage.

If the enemy is external, say monkeys for instance…

I also had to take a step back and remember they were here first. I’m the shipwrecked giant washed up on their shores, the scary stranger who consumes their food and ruins their environment. The issue isn’t the proper way to eat an egg. It’s domination. Who gets to be here and what price do we pay to stay?

Right now we’re paying the price of our massive consumption of wilderness at the expense of the animal life it supports. If winning this war against disease means going back to the way things were, we’ve lost. That reality is unsustainable. That’s what got us where we are.

If losing means learning how to eat an egg their way, we’ve won. But nobody knows what that looks like. And nobody knows who ‘they’ are.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sageblessings
    Apr 09, 2020 @ 22:54:54

    Excellent read Sherry. Thoughts many people are voicing now. Except for the monkeys….so sorry.

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Apr 10, 2020 @ 15:29:23

      The monkeys… They can upset this peaceful community faster than a two-year-old in meltdown mode! Sometimes I can let their screeching and fighting flow over me, but not always. Ketut said there were 50 of them that came through this morning. I couldn’t look!!!

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  2. Gail Brown
    Apr 10, 2020 @ 05:45:20

    Thank you Sherry. So true and thought provoking.

    Sent from my iPad

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  3. shanemac
    Apr 10, 2020 @ 06:46:03

    As always, when I saw you’d written a new story I pounced on it and, as always, you gave me something different to think about. That’s a precious gift you have, the gift of being able to take us outside ourselves and think bigger.

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  4. Diane Struble
    Apr 11, 2020 @ 13:46:48

    I am so sorry that your friend was flooded. Did you get it all put back in order? It sounds like a huge job. I loved the literary lesson. I had forgotten what Gulliver was about although I knew it was a political satire. Your comments were all right on. I could not agree more.

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Apr 11, 2020 @ 14:12:21

      She spent an hour with the hairdryer trained on the foam topper. Everything dried out in the blaze of sunshine the following day. Ketut replaced the broken tiles. Now, fingers crossed, next time it rains everything will be ship-shape.

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