Counting My Eggs Like an Olympian

I told my friend a secret. He said: "Don't count your eggs before they hatch."

But I've always counted all my eggs before they've hatched or not hatched. The day my chickens started laying them was the day I started counting. I never had a rooster, so none of those eggs ever hatched. I ate every single brown, yellow, and white one. Most eggs are more delicious while in the becoming stage than in the have-become-something stage.

Same thing with the things we hope for. Maybe the sweetness comes from our hope not from the fruition of that hope. And when we stop talking about opportunity, we stunt the very opportunity of becoming something. When we remove words from things, they are like half-things, besides the ones that are meant to be left as mysteries.

What I'm saying is that I'd rather live by voice than the vice of a doubtful conscience. I wonder why we have become so afraid of saying what we want, why so many people turn their potential into an untouchable.

That's why I love the Olympics. All these people go out into the water, the sand, the clay, the road, with almost everything exposed including their often-wobbly desire to be better. They go out flinching and flawed and very capable of failure, with their inventory of records broken and records remaining, and their obsessive internal counting. But most of all, they are on the field giving voice to their hopes (the powdered thud of flesh hitting a gymnastics mat, the over-the-lap-lane international congratulations) in the midst of enormous expertise.

The Olympics are one of the few televised portions of reality in which I see desire overcoming fear. Of course, you could argue the exceptions of steroids and sneaky things (I swear some of the Chinese kids are not above the age of 10), but what I see in the competitions is solidarity of an unhatched and counted kind. And strivings so palpable they have a pulse. To what else do we apply ourselves so viscerally, and why not to more things?

I think there's a reason no one gets into NHL-style fights in the Olympics, and a reason world records keep getting broken by people who aren't breaking the rules. When I was little, every month, my brothers and I would stand with our backs against the closet door, ticking off the evidence of our growth with a pencil balanced across the crowns of our heads.

We didn't know how tall we'd get, and we wouldn't know how tall we were getting if we didn't count out the inches for each other. Possibility can be a very scary thing if it doesn't turn into a conversation. I think we have much more potential for growth if we collectively and audibly measure ourselves.

And I was also thinking, while eating my two over-easies for breakfast, that shared hope brings much more direction to our hands than the silent fear of what might not be.