On Crazy People, Telling the Truth, and My New Toaster

May 11 2012

We have a new toaster at our house, which is a much, much bigger deal than you think it is.

See, we don’t go for this whole “new appliance” craze that’s sweeping the nation. All you people out there, wildly tossing money around. To purchase what? Things that work? Things that are clean? Things that might last a while? Things that are well-made and lower your energy use?

Well, I say pffttt to that nonsense.

Our last four microwaves, for example, were all loaners. And, by “loaners,” I mean that they came to my house to die. Our garage is a microwave graveyard because we’re the best appliance hospice location in town, and we make appliances very, very comfortable before they go to their Great Appliance Reward in the sky.

And we’re not picky, y’all. We take any appliance that’s in need. Our last microwave, for example, worked GREAT as long as we didn’t use the numbers 5, 6, 7 or 8, which, if you think about it, are overrated anyway. Our current loaner of a microwave, in fact, is something of a disappointment because we’ve had it for months and months now and it still pops popcorn and actually defrosts meat, and, frankly, we’re not used to that kind of highfalutin standard at our house.

Our old toaster, God rest its soul, dedicated its life to our family. Year after year, it toasted four pieces of bread at a time. Four pieces of bread! And even after the coils died in one half of the toaster, it still hobbled along, toasting two pieces of bread at a time. Sure, it was erratic. Sure, it fizzled from time to time. Sure, it begged to be put out of its misery and kept making dramatic threats to off itself and take our whole house down with it, but we struggled along together until it was clear we were no longer doing anyone any favors.

We said our good-byes one afternoon this Spring as the cherry blossoms fell from the trees outside. We pulled the plug, and we settled the old toaster in its final resting place in the garage. And Greg and I decided to take a radical departure from our appliance philosophy and purchase an entire, brand new toaster at the entire, brand new toaster store.

I know. I’m impressed with us, too.

I’ll spare you the details of finding the right toaster. Let’s just say I’m not a shopper so Greg had to text me a LOT of toaster pictures before he found one that met my criteria: industrial strength, large capacity, and solid, healthy coping mechanisms so we can minimize future toaster counseling bills.

It was harder than you might think.

He finally found The One. I knew it as soon as I saw it. “It’s boxy and hideous,” I texted back. “I love it. Buy it!”

And he did. And here it sits, on my kitchen counter, next to my ancient coffee maker.

Every time I look at my new toaster, I sigh and think, “Boxy, but Good.”

There was a 1990 Dudley Moore movie that no one saw called Crazy People. I highly don’t recommend it, mostly because it’s a terrible movie, but there are a few lines that make it worthwhile.

See, Crazy People outlines the professional demise of a top advertising executive (Dudley Moore) who goes, well, insane, and starts telling the truth out loud. That’s when the movie gives us awesome ad campaigns like:

McDonald’s: Cheaper than Food


United Airlines: We Crash Less Than Everybody Else


“You may think phone service stinks since deregulation, but don’t mess with us, because we’re all you’ve got. In fact, if we fold, you’ll have no damn phones.”
AT&T: we’re tired of taking your crap! 


Volvo: Boxy, but Good

You guys, my toaster is a Volvo! It’s spectacular and, so far, completely worth the $50 we spent on it. It’s Boxy, but Good.

What I love about Crazy People is the underlying message that a) living a lie will drive you actually, certifiably, for real crazy, b) we are people who long desperately to hear the truth.

Like my toaster, the truth doesn’t have to be pretty to be right. And like my toaster, you can’t find the thing that works until you discard the thing that’s broken.

Several weeks ago, I received a message from Rachel Held Evans.

Rachel is an author, a speaker, a blogger, and, in her own words, “a skeptic, a creative, and a follower of Jesus.” I would add that Rachel is a seeker of the truth, and she’s out there asking important questions, right out loud and in public. She’s hosting some of the best, real, faith-filled conversations on the web with lots of people who agree with her and lots of people who don’t.

So when Rachel wrote and asked me to guest post on her blog about the intersection of faith and parenting, I was thrilled. And terrified. Because I knew, if I accepted her invitation, that I needed to be faithful to tell the truth. And, you guys, the truth for me is often full of doubts and questions.

I write nearly every day about the ways I screw up parenting and the little graces I find along the way. As I thought and fought my way through this guest post idea, I found myself eager for the chance to write authentically about the ways I screw up faith… and the little graces I find along the way. I wrote Rachel back and said, Yes, yes yes! I’d love to post for you.

So that’s where I’ll be tomorrow — guest posting via Rachel Held Evans with an essay titled “Ask. Seek. Knock. Breathe.”

The truth, of course, comes with a huge measure of vulnerability. And that’s why I hope to see you there, friends, for a real discussion on how faith in parenting looks to you. Even if it looks way, way different than it does to me.

For now, I’m going to go make myself a piece – or four – of toast. In my new toaster. Which is Boxy but Good. And somehow just right.

See you soon!