One day this past year, as I scrolled through the top-rated produce and seafood on the grocery-delivery website, my eye hesitated a fraction of moment on its way past the oysters. It was the same fraction of a moment it always hesitated on its way past the oysters, but for once I noticed my own fleeting, accompanying half-thought: Someday, it would be nice to be able to eat my own oysters.
Startled, I focused in on that thought. When, exactly, would that someday be? What future version of myself was I waiting for before I would be prepared to shuck and eat oysters? There was no deeper, more capable adulthood ahead, only this one.
The next day, I was standing over the kitchen sink with an oyster in one hand and a straight oyster knife, delivered by the grocery-delivery company, in the other. To protect the oyster hand from the knife, I was wearing a fancy leather kitchen glove that I’d been given who-knows-how-many holidays ago and had stashed on a high shelf while I kept using cruddy hot pads. I jammed the knife into the hinge of the oyster. It worked. My wife and I shared a dozen oysters standing up in the kitchen, before dinner.
A little research led me to upgrade to a “New Haven style” knife, with a sort of scoop-shaped blade tip, which seems to dig more securely into the hinges. I’ve stuck with the leather glove; now it’s crusty and stiff from doing something it wasn’t really meant for, but I’m using it, regularly, as I shuck and eat oysters, which is a thing that turns out to be entirely possible to do. Any cut-resistant work glove should work as well. Give someone the protection and encouragement they need to be an oyster-eater.