Monday, December 8, 2014



            We needed a new toaster, okay?  To replace our two-slicer that each day figures out anew how it will approach our bread.  One day, doubtless after a hard night,  it can’t rouse itself to fire up all its elements, so it browns each slice on one side only . . . or, alternatively, it browns one piece and ignores the other.  Or sometimes, in an ebullient spirit, it keeps browning until it burns. Trouble is, like a teenager with moods, you never know what you'll get.   

            Before we got around to buying something better, Tracy inherited a lot of Diner’s Club gift points from Brad.  “What do you need?” she asked. 

            “A toaster!” I cried.  “With four slots.”    

            “Well,”  she said as she looked over the catalog, “here’s one.”  And then in a softer tone. “It also cooks eggs.” 

            This I couldn’t imagine.  But I told her to order it anyway.

Yesterday it came.  So let me paint the picture.  For two-thirds of its length it’s just a four-slice toaster. But then the last third sports two little frying pans that stick out into space, apropos of nothing, except that the pans also have lids and non-removable, further-protruding knobs, making it a ship that grew too big for its berth.  

At the moment the thing is sitting on my drain board like an obese, but shiny squatter, taking up so much space I can hardly cook around it. It’s waiting to be placed where it goes-- which won’t happen until I dismantle a quarter of the kitchen. As I work, I keep giggling, and from across the room Bob hears me and says, “What were they THINKING?”

As I push it aside, discovering there’s nowhere for it to go, I keep picturing what went on in the board room of West Bend. “You want to invent WHAT?” the president asks, and the inventor says earnestly, “Who wouldn’t want a cooks-all appliance?” and board members shake their heads and one says, “Not MY wife,” but the president finally says, “Well, we’ve got some development money. Give it a try.” 

“Five thousand?” the inventor asks, to which the daring president answers, “Why not five thousand?”  Then, as my grandson says, “They never did much field testing.” 

I can tell you what happened next. West Bend was saddled with five-thousand “gifts”, which they pawned off on Diner’s Club, and Diner’s Club is currently left with four-hundred and ninety-nine, because we have the other one.    

Bob, who tries to find a spot for everything, can’t figure out its placement. The only reasonable scenario (egg pans in) would leave the controls buried against our refrigerator. Egg-pans-out, means I’d have to reach over the little darlings to get at the toaster slots.  We are currently engaged in a typical Wills debate. “Let’s make it a humorous white elephant,” I say, and Bob says grimly, “It’s an elephant, all right—but I intend to keep it.”

So I’m now asking the world: Is there anyone out there who wants a toaster that also cooks eggs?  

Speak up.  I can’t hear you. 


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