Well begosh and begorra! Another truth falls the way of myth. Before getting to the bulk of what I want to say, let me preface by stating that I never believed Elvis Presley was alive after 1977, nor did I trust in that whole Neimann Marcus cookie recipe fiasco, and it never would have dawned on me to believe Mikey from the Life cereal commercial died from mixing Pop Rocks and Coke. As a kid, that last one might have seemed more plausible to me until I watched my younger cousin Adam mix the two deadly ingredients while riding in the back seat of his parents’ car. The carbonated sugar muck bubbled over the neck of the green bottle and got all over the car upholstery, but after drinking what was left, Adam went unscathed. I have always prided myself on not being the gullible type, and I’m not one to buy into the latest meme just because everyone else does. There is however a popular myth that, until this morning, I took as scientific truth. You can imagine my bitter disappointment when I discovered evidence to the contrary.
The actual year eludes me, but I distinctly remember taking a Polaroid picture of three eggs all of which I successfully righted on end out on the front porch of my parents’ home. Although this may be a fabrication that I later came to believe as true, I also seem to remember them falling over one by one in order from right to left. I think it was my mother who had introduced me to this concept of standing eggs on their end during the vernal equinox, but there had also been a news story on it one year, so I was sure it must have been true. I wasn’t a scientifically minded kinda kid so I didn’t understand the process behind it, but it was supposedly due to some special gravitational pull and consequently some ultimate cosmic order to the universe unique to that particular calendar day. It all sounds hoaky now that I think about it, but until recently I bought it hook, line and sinker.
What’s so special about an egg anyway? Why wasn’t the rumor propagated that you could stand a cucumber on it’s end on the first day of Spring? Or a light bulb? Any round-ended object? Count Chocula? After all, if you could stand an egg on it’s end one day out of the year, why wouldn’t a Weeble stand on his head that day also? I imagine the incredible edible egg came into the picture as a symbol of fertility during the equinox the same way we worship plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies for Easter. Millions of years ago one fine Spring day some caveman steps out of his hovel and sees that since the weather has warmed up chickens lay more eggs and rabbits do it bunny style. Apparently he was so excited he decided to paint the egg and stand it up on it’s posterior. If you think our fertility rituals are weird, get a load of this: When we were in Prague, my wife and I saw men coming home from the florist with willow branches. According to Czech legend, the men beat their women with the sticks to increase their fecundity. Then the women, as a thank you I guess, offer the men an egg. Wild, huh? I suppose anything’s better than marshmallow Peeps though.
But anyway, back to the vernal egg balancing. It’s a sham, folks. Well, not a total sham. You can balance an egg on it’s end during the vernal equinox if you work at it hard enough, but — NEWS FLASH — you can do that any day of the year. Equinox, solstice, tax day; it doesn’t matter. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason or gravitational anomaly or special order to the cosmos on March 20th or 21st that doesn’t occur every other day of the year. During both equinoxes, there are equal amounts of light and darkness. That’s it. That’s the magic.
If you’re wondering how I got wind of this debunking, or if you too are one of the mislead sad sacks rushing out once a year to balance eggs on end and you’re not yet convinced that your efforts are fruitless, click here. That’s a link to a site I found via Google that dishes out the scientific truth about this widespread theory and offers up evidence to the contrary. The author also gives links to other sites that go into even more detail about the equinoxes and why they’re not much more special than any other day. It’s on the internet, so you know it’s gotta be true.