Sunday, July 7, 2013

In and Out of an Eggshell


It's Chick Season round here. Every year in May our third grade hatches chicks to experience LIFE CYCLES. Course there ain't no better way to EXPERIENCE science than to EXPERIMENT. Get our hands dirty! Sink our minds into it! No EGG left behind!

I always begin the unit with an experiment titled "how strong IS an egg?" We host a STRONG MAN contest to see who, just WHO in our classroom, can break an egg with one hand?

I line all miniature scientists up. Over a trash can just in case. I play cheerleader as a gaggle of little muscle men and little ladies try to crack the egg. This year I even had the quarterback of the pop warner football team and a junior Olympic gymnastic star compete in our MAN VS. EGG triathlon!

It's pure delight watching them squeeze and squash and jam those little fingers round those eggs, and year after year, they are defeated. Their dreams crushed. But not one egg.

I always announce, “boys and girls, SOMEONE in this school MUST be able to crack this egg!”  I begin by taking requests.  As tradition, I like to call upon some of my own special GUEST STARS as well.  A principal, a dad, even a local muscle man if need be! Still, no one can compete with the Great and Powerful EGG!

This year I summoned a custodian: Mister Clean Himself. He even rolled up his sleeves for the event; counting on qualifying for this year's  Poultry Olympics! He squeezed. He squashed. He flexed every muscle in that arm of his. Even his veins seared through his flesh! The kids were astounded! But alas, even Mister Clean was no match!

Next up, I selected a NEW teacher to our building. Mister Newbie. He just happens to be the local varsity hockey coach, too, so the kids put all their money, all their two hundred and ten plastic coins, on HIM!

Mister Newbie stretches, shrugs his shoulders, rolls up a little sleeve and I place the egg in the palm of his hand.

First attempt he was cautious. He'd seen the kind of science stunts that go down in our classroom before. That first try he played it cool and the egg stayed intact.

Next attempt, he went for a Golden Globe. There he was, collared shirt and tie, pretending to squeeze the life out of the egg, moaning, groaning, twisting, and writhing. The kids ate it up like white cheddar cheese popcorn!

Here's where I need to remind you that Mister Newbie is a HOCKEY MAN. If you've seen anyone on the ice, they are out to WIN.  No “yolk,” no glory! There ain't no penalty box for ballerinas you know.


He winds up the pitch, the sleeve a bit further up the arm, even his jaw was clenched. All the  kids are leaning in to see if finally, FINALLY we have found THE ONE. The ALMIGHTY  ONE that could CRACK the Great and Powerful Egg with a single squeeze! I was even excited! I had done this trick for years on end, and NO ONE, I mean NO ONE within four hundred feet of Room 268 could EVER crack that egg!

That's when things went south. Or should I say NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, and WEST. With one clamped hand, Mister Newbie cracked the EGG!!!

It didn't matter that there was a colossal-size trashcan beneath his MISTER UNIVERSE grip! That egg literally TORPEDOed in every direction but. It was like an EGG MISSILE, a YOLK SLINGSHOT! I’ll take one SUPERSIZED OMELET to go!


In the aftermath, Mister Newbie was soaked in yellow yolk from his tie buckle to his loafers! Behind him, about TWELVE feet away, the wall was SATURATED of it! It dripped and oozed on the clock at about half past two, and dribbled into each and every crevice. Mister Clean was sweating it out! He hadn't even brought a single sponge or mop with him.

There was yolk on me. Yolk on Mister Clean. Yolk on the rug, the floor, and the whole front row's lab papers! The only place we did not see yolk was IN THE TRASHCAN!  I tell you, this egg, this ONE LITTLE CHICKEN EGG, had the strength of a dozen roosters!

Suddenly, I look out at the hooting and hollering third graders! There, directly in front of me, in the first seat in the front row, was a little eight year old boy. COVERED IN EGG. His poor little face had shielded the egg from other innocent bystanders!  It was like Kids’ Choice Awards Gone Superbad.

He had yolk in his eyeball, dripping from his lashes. He had yolk up his nose and in each nostril. He even had yolk, and most of it, IN HIS MOUTH!!!

That little boy only had one defense: To gag. Next thing I know he is regurgitating like an owl in heat. He must have tasted the first swallow. He starts gagging something awful and clutches his throat. Mister Clean fumbled for a bucket, Mister Newbie sopping yolk from his finger tips while the kids ask for his autograph.

At this moment, I am reminded of the DREAM SCENE in the classic movie 'Stand By Me.' If you're a fan, you remember the blueberry pie eating contest, triggering a series of innocent bystanders vomiting one after another in haste. I watch in horror as the little boy gags away, thrusting his neck, his eyes pulsing.

And just like the movie, little girls in his vicinity witness the wretching of the egg and they, too start gagging!!! They headed toward the trash can and the nearest box of tissues crying, "that's gross!"

The boy gasped for air, his mouth cavity full of egg white and albumen. Let me note here that yesterday we learned about the EGG PARTS, so he knew in EXPLICIT DETAIL what he was choking on.
Next, he made a break for the sink, Mister Clean, Mister Newbie fall in line behind the boy and I'm left with the icky, sticky explosion on the floor and walls of our classroom.

After a cleanup with soap, bleach, and an emergency fumigation, all three contestants exit the room, heading toward the nurse's office. The same nurse that I had attacked with Pam Cooking spray posing as an Indian girl last Thanksgiving.  When the victim arrived, she was not surprised in the least to learn he was a citizen of Room 268.

There you have it. This story will soon go down in history at school and probably round the community. I won’t be recognized as a science teacher or a weaver of dreams.  Instead, there will be talk of the method of YOLKING I use in the classroom, especially of those poor innocent children that sit in the front row of Room 268. (:

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