One year I had to explain the concept of an Easter egg hunt to a foreign exchange student. But I was a little sparse on details. Actually, I just handed him a basket of plastic eggs and told him “hide these.” He immediately went to the bank and put them in his safety deposit box. Then the hunt began. Twenty minutes and eight crying children later, I found out what he did with the eggs. That was an Easter egg hunt failure.
That story happens to be fictional, but there is a point to it which I will get to in about ten paragraphs.
A modern urban definition of “Easter egg” is something hidden in a movie, story, or painting. An Easter egg in a movie would be a prop placed in the background or foreground that has nothing to do with the plot, but may have some hidden meaning to the audience.
An example of an Easter egg in a comic book could be something like this:
Spider-man in his civilian identity gets onto an airplane and hears the pilot making an announcement: “this is your pilot, Jordan Ferris, along with copilot Hal Carol.”
There, did you see it? If you didn’t, it’s only because you’re not an enormous geek like myself. The Easter egg there is a little play on names for comic book fans. “Hal Jordan” is the air-force-test-pilot-secret-identity of Green Lantern. “Carol Ferris” is his boss/love interest. Take their names, scramble them to avoid a lawsuit, hide them in plain sight to excite the geeks like me, and presto: Easter egg. Also some would interpret that as a slam from Marvel comics against DC saying that Green Lantern is only fit to be Spider-man’s chauffeur.
A more historical example, since I do have a BA in art, is the painting “Ambassadors” by Holbein.
See that weird shape at the bottom of the painting? Click on the image to see a larger version, then look at it from an angle, so that you’re looking at it from the top right edge of your computer’s screen. I’ll wait while you try that… (Insert Jeopardy theme song here).
If you look at it just right, you should see a human skull. A near-perfect human skull, so you know it had to be deliberately painted. Also the painting was commissioned to be placed to the left of the doorway, so that as you exit the room, the last thing you would see is a glimpse of a skull following you. This may be the first official use of subliminal imagery by an artist in history.
So what is the point of these Easter egg examples and that story from paragraph one? I have been placing Easter eggs in my blog now for several months. Mine have been in the form of funny/goofy messages hidden in the images on each blog that you can read by hovering the cursor over it. Nothing hilarious mind you, just me showing I can be clever if I want to. Nobody ever bothered to comment on one of my sub-captions, but it didn’t occur to me that it was because nobody ever found one.
Until last week, when I hid a “golden egg” in my post. One with a contest and a prize. Even if nobody wanted the prize (a free eCopy of my first book) I’m sure that somebody in the world would want to answer the three questions correctly, just to show how smart they are. That’s when I figured out, nobody is participating in my Easter egg hunt.
I think one reason is that I was hiding the eggs in my safety deposit box. I am old school when it comes to technology. I realized, looking at my blog on an iPhone, nobody can see the Easter eggs on a mobile device because they cannot float a cursor over the image because they have no cursor. I am also guessing, that people that subscribe to RSS feeds may have a similar problem. I can’t say for sure, because I have no idea how to subscribe to an RSS feed myself.
So, cancel the search, I’ll just hand you an egg.
Here in this photograph, is a picture of Herbert who appeared in my past blog “Actions Trump Intentions“. Herbert is inspired by the Scott Adams character Dilbert. For the first five people who can identify three differences between Herbert and Dilbert I will send you a free eCopy of my first book, It Takes 15 Minutes to Change Your Life. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer.