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Easter’s coming up and we all know what that means: Time to dye those eggs as pretty as possible, go over to Mawmaw’s house, and step into the Pocking Dome. It’s egg against egg, last person with an uncracked egg the champion. And if you want to be that champion, I’ve collected a few egg-pocking “hacks”—back in the day, we used to call this “cheating”—to help you best your opponents.

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Oh, wait, if you’re not from Louisiana, you might think I’ve lost my damn mind. Or you may just be asking, what on earth is egg pocking?

Let me start by spelling it correctly, rather than phonetically. Or as correctly as possible according to the hot mess that is Cajun folklore and Cajun-French-English linguistics. It’s technically “egg pacquing,” as in, “Let’s pacque some eggs.” Translated into English, it means, “Let’s, uh, Easter some eggs,” since supposedly the word derives from the French word Pâques, which means Easter. Now that I’ve cleared that up...

Let’s stick with “pocking,” because it rhymes with “knocking,” and that’s a good enough description for what goes on here. One competitor holds an Easter egg firmly in hand, pointy side up (usually), while the other competitor knocks the egg with his or her egg’s pointy end until one of the eggs cracks. Winner keeps the broken egg.

This was one of many things—like eating crawfish, saying “y’all,” and wearing camouflage to church—that I just assumed everyone in the world did. Then I moved away from Louisiana for college, and people treated me like a foreign-exchange student because my ways were not their ways. Though interestingly enough, outside of Cajun country and very small pockets elsewhere in America, egg pocking (or knocking or tapping) can be found in Croatia, Romania, Afghanistan, and certain parts of India, among other places.

Whatever you call it, it’s a fun tradition that combines religion and sport, both of which are based on strict rules that the less scrupulous among us spend lots of time trying to circumvent. And egg pocking is no exception. So let’s talk about how to cheat at it. The following list is mostly inspired by my godfather, a man who was always up for a joke—which is why some of these are less cheat and more prank. It was filled out with help from folks on Facebook.

Illustration for article titled The yolk’s on you: How to cheat at egg pocking, the greatest Easter sport
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Guinea eggs

The shells of chicken eggs are no match for the harder shell of the guinea hen eggs. This is a known fact. It’s so well known that people have instituted rules prohibiting cross-species egg smashing. According to this Louisiana Folklife Festivals piece from 1987, one egg-pocking festival created separate categories. But will your younger siblings or cousins know that a guinea egg is harder? No. Not at first. In fact, because kids are stupid, they’ll assume the smaller egg is the weaker egg. Where do you get guinea eggs? Look. If your Mawmaw doesn’t have guinea hens running around her property, I don’t know what to tell you.

Illustration for article titled The yolk’s on you: How to cheat at egg pocking, the greatest Easter sport
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Ceramic eggs

No, these aren’t eggs from a Cerami bird. Ceramic eggs are eggs made from ceramic and typically used to get chickens to lay their eggs in a nesting box rather than under the house or some other random place. It goes without saying that a ceramic egg is harder than a chicken egg. One of those will break if thrown at your brother’s head, the other one won’t. And unlike a guinea egg, the ceramic egg is the same size and shape of the chicken egg, so it might be quite a while until anyone cottons on to your nefarious ways.

Illustration for article titled The yolk’s on you: How to cheat at egg pocking, the greatest Easter sport
Photo: El Caninus Photography (Getty Images)

Wooden eggs

See above. The only issue with a wooden egg is that PAAS won’t do the trick when it comes to coloring. You’ll have to paint them. If you’re the sort of person who puts more work into cheating than it would have required to do something legitimately, this is for you.

Illustration for article titled The yolk’s on you: How to cheat at egg pocking, the greatest Easter sport
Photo: Michael Moeller / EyeEm (Getty Images)

Stuffed eggs

Another labor-intensive hack. Poke a hole in a raw egg and drain the interior. Replace boring old egg whites and yolk with epoxy, resin, or something else that will harden. Once dyed, no one will know the difference.

Illustration for article titled The yolk’s on you: How to cheat at egg pocking, the greatest Easter sport
Photo: Bill Diodato (Getty Images)

Frozen eggs

This was suggested by a friend of mine. Freezing a raw egg will turn its insides solid. But it will thaw out at some point, so be careful.

Illustration for article titled The yolk’s on you: How to cheat at egg pocking, the greatest Easter sport
Photo: Laurence Mouton (Getty Images)

Nail polish or super glue

After your egg is dyed, apply a thin coat of clear nail polish or super glue to the tip of the egg. Be careful not to apply so much that it’s noticeable.

Illustration for article titled The yolk’s on you: How to cheat at egg pocking, the greatest Easter sport
Photo: Jonathan Kantor (Getty Images)

Raw egg

This, obviously, is not a cheat, but rather a prank. And it only works if you’re the pocker. For best results, you want to start off slowly and lightly with this approach and then surprise with a big payoff. Tap-tap-tap-tap-SMASH is what I’d suggest. The look on your opponent’s face will be priceless.

That last method might be frowned upon in these quarantined times if eggs are hard to come by where you live. And this year, you can only pock eggs with immediate family members—unless someone’s invented a way to pock from a distance of six feet or over Zoom (which would not surprise me in the least). This means you’ll have to work extra hard to hide your cheating efforts during the planning and execution stages.

All I’m saying is you have to adapt to the times. For example, when we were kids, someone on a winning streak might have eaten a dozen or so hard-boiled eggs as a palate cleanser between the six or seven pounds of Easter candy consumed that day—with entirely predictable and sulfurous results. If you’re sequestered in tight quarters with loved ones, filling up the old gas tank with that many eggs is somewhere on the spectrum between rude and ruinous (depending on where you are in your relationship). So maybe this year, skip the yolks.

Ken Wheaton is the author of The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival, Bacon & Egg Man, and Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears. Born and raised in Louisiana, he now lives in Colorado.

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