Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Toaster Troubles and ADD

I ran out of matches this morning and I haven’t been able to uncover the secret hiding spot for my lighter—or anything else for that matter – being the perfect poster child for adults who Twitter with ADD. My list of lost items is expanding and now includes my purse, car keys, three shoes, clean clothes, my favorite coat, certain sections of my floor, and on a regular basis – my bed. But back to the matches.

I had none. But I had a toaster. As I leaned my face dangerously close to the pink-hot elements to light my cigarette, I began to ponder this appliance – REALLY ponder-- asking myself just how I felt about it. (This has become a recent and bizarre habit of mine – examining objects to see if I have an opinion about them that can be expressed in 140 characters or less. And one way or another, I usually do.)

But, I digress. Back to the toaster. As I peered down into the slightly-scorching slot, I recalled that the sales clerk offered me an extended warranty on this little sucker. Should I have bought an extended warranty?

The toaster is called a “Perfect Toast Moulinex” -- not a bad name in the world of small appliances, even if it is a little heavy-handed with the promises. “Guru of toasters! Toaster Wizard! Expert at Toasting! Toasting Media Sensation!” You’ve seen it all before. This “perfect-toast” four-slicer is wide and white – which not only makes for a nice alliteration but describes me quite nicely, as well. Into these spacious slots one can fit shamelessly thick bagels and homemade slices of bread. It also saves energy by turning off the elements you are not using. Imagine! Why, that one environmentally friendly feature alone could probably save you enough energy to leave the water on while brushing your teeth – once.

But there is a problem with this little baby. It toasts so very slowly that I find I am transported back in time trying to recall a science project I did so I can hook the thing up to a couple of potatoes and really see some action. Unless I have something important to do -- like edit a four page essay down to a 140 character tweet-- I wouldn't even think about popping in a doughy treat like an English muffin, which must be cooked to a golden brown before that little starchy carbohydrate can be soaked in butter. And talk about lighting cigarettes! Well that simple event can take all day. Never mind the occasional cigar.

Yes, I admit I smoke. It’s a horrible habit and one which I plan to give up as soon as I have the desire to gain 15 more pounds, which will also deter me from devouring those thick-sliced doughy things smothered in fat. But back to the toaster.

I had owned this toaster for three years before I discovered you could remove the crumb tray. Let me describe:

There are two little slots at the bottom of the toaster which I thought were for carrying the thing around, if one was so inclined. But lo and behold, I recently discover while taking the toaster for a brief stroll around my kitchen, that it is NOT in fact equipped with handles but rather with crumb-tray removers! (This experiment in toaster-toting, by the way, left me pondering how I felt about my broom – but that for another day.)

Well, you can imagine how heaping with sludge this crumb tray was. And not just filled with crumbs! I found a cigarette in there too! I was so excited, I searched the inner workings of other appliances for my lighter, car keys, and purse, my smallest child — but to no avail.

The whole point is that modern toasters are not like the ones I remember from my youth. Back in the day, you could roll up some newspaper, stick it in and watch it catch fire when you ran out of matches. All in all, it’s a disappointing owner-appliance relationship.

Would I recommend buying an extended warranty for the Perfect Toast Toaster? No. You would never want the recalcitrant thing to last a day beyond what is absolutely essential. I am heading this very moment to dumpster-dive for a really efficient cigarette-lighting toaster. Now, if I could just find my car.


  1. A tome about a toaster! Excellent writing and very humorous, too. You have loads of talent (I also love your poetry!).

    It's just a memory for me now, but when I was eight years old, I used a metal fork to try and hoist a piece of toast out of a toaster.

    Electricity shot out and next thing I knew, I was against the wall across the room, shaking...

    I just turned 70 years old, and that toaster experience is something I have never forgotten. I'm really careful of electrical things now. Oh, I also married an electrical engineer. Luckily, he is unafraid to handle the heavy loads!


    Ellen Kimball
    Radio_Lady on Twitter
    Portland, Oregon

  2. Thanks for sharing your story and comment. Glad you married someone who could keep you safe!

  3. Excellent blog. I'm really enjoying it. This entry alone made me recall lighting my smokes with the toaster. There is nothing like the cheek warming feeling of the coils as they fire up... And? Much safer than taking the chace of burning your eyebrows off using the stove element.

  4. AH! Yes--I had forgotten that sensation on the cheeks! Ouch-Glad you enjoyed this and thanks for the comment.:-)

  5. You sound like myself, I get all wrapped up thinking about the oddest things. Drive myself and anyone nearby nutty when I get on one of my tangents.

    It speaks of much intelligence when you can laugh at yourself.

  6. Ha ha - I love it. My favorite part is thinking the crumb tray was a set of little handles so you could cart the toaster around if you wanted to. Witty, intelligent fun.

  7. Hi there-just happened upon your blog and this piece was so much fun I had to say so. Enjoyable to find some one else's personal experience so well told. -Tiffany

  8. I've never picked up smoking in part because I know I'd never remember to buy cigarettes...