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

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

and

United Airlines: We Crash Less Than Everybody Else

and

“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! 

and

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!

xo,
Beth

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
16 comments
  1. I think your whole family is a riot! Saw the movie, can’t remember a whole bunch, but agree that I wouldn’t recommend it. But Dudley’s biggest stinker had to be the one with Eddie Murphy. It was The Best Defense, or maybe The Last Defense. Can’t remember, but I know it was one of the very few movies that I’ve walked out on. H O R R I B L E !

    We are a toaster-oven family, and we ride ’em hard. I remember the one that my husband grabbed and ran it outside and threw it on the front lawn, completely engulfed in flames. Yes, we were the redneck family of that neighborhood (in which we no longer live.)

  2. This is where I admit that I immediately recognized the “boxy” quote before you mentioned the movie. It’s been decades since I saw the movie but I still think of that line every time I see a volvo!

  3. HA! I’m seriously stunned that more than just my family saw (and apparently MEMORIZED – hehehe) Crazy People. Y’all make me laugh. Thank you for that!

  4. OHMYWORD.
    Seriously.
    That is my toaster, and my coffee pot, and I literally laughed out loud when I saw them together. I can so relate. Thanks heaps for doing life out loud, too. I love transparency. Life is messy. That’s why there’s paper towels and rags, and waterproof ink in Bibles.
    Love what you do!
    ~Nina Roesner

    1. Messy. Transparent. YES!

      Welcome, Nina. Glad to have you along for the ride.

  5. “Metamucil: It helps you go to the toilet. If you don’t use it, you’ll get cancer and die.” Its a GREAT movie! (I think it was Porsche; not Jaguar… uh… never mind.)

    1. Good memory, but you’re only half right. There were both Porche and Jaguar ads. Neither of which are appropriate. At all. From what I hear. From… other people. Gotta go now.

  6. Cars, blenders, toasters, microwaves….as long as they work, Devvi will take ’em. At least that was the attitude my family and friends had about my house. At one point I had 3 working coffee makers! (And I used them all!) However, Don and I have figured out, you are officially an adult when all your appliances have been purchased, by you, in a store, for more than the cash you might have on your person (Egads! Credit? THAT’S RETIREMENT AGE) and not for a special occasion (Seriously, I asked for a new crockpot for Christmas).

    My coffee pot is older than my youngest, I have a crock pot (from Grandma) that is older than I am, and I’m looking for my volvo’s of Can Openers…yeah, I’m right there with you, Sister. 🙂

    Good luck on tomorrow’s post, I look forward to reading it!

  7. Come to New York, we’ve had less murders this year…We ironically just watched this movie a couple of weeks ago. Great post, I can’t wait for tomorrow!!

  8. OH! My favorite line from that move was, “Sony, because Caucasians are just too damn tall”…then again Sony isn’t really doing great now…are they?

  9. I’ve never wanted to watch horrible movie more! (But, I’ll take your word for it.) Your toaster looks really nice to me–it’s actually white! Mine used to be white and didn’t used to look like it had been dropped on the floor where pieces fell off and then got stick back on when they were found again….

    Now, where was I? Oh, right, great news about your ”guest spot”! I’ll see you tomorrow!

  10. Four thoughts from me:

    1) Guest posting! Hooray!
    2) “Forget Paris, the French can be annoying. Come to Greece, we’re nicer.”
    3) “Who here wants to be a fire engine?”
    4) “Jaguar…” Um, nevermind.

    Make that three. Yes, just three thoughts from me. =)

  11. “McDonald’s: cheaper than real food”! So funny. Congrats on the new toaster, and guest blogging. Looking forward to it! (the blog, that is…tho it sounds like you could also make me more toast than I could ever need or desire, too!)

    1. The McDonalds slogan really is one of my favorites!

      And thanks, Cherice, for your support. It really means the world to me.

      1. Years ago we noticed that the McDonald’s “slogan” no longer appeared in the rental version of the movie, and we all speculated that McDonald’s had somehow pressured / litigated it away. What’s scary is now I can’t even find the reference on Google. Is McDonald’s more powerful than Google? Is my Google-fu not as effective as I thought? Anyone? Beuller?

        1. Perhaps McDonalds wanted to be known as also being more expensive than real food–they don’t want to be stock in a box? It is scary that they may have ‘cowed’ Google, though….

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