Sunday, January 17, 2010

Toast-Trouble At Our House

One more crack about burnt toast, Mr. Smith, and you'll lose a perfectly good wife! What do you expect from an old toaster like ours?

This isn't just about the toast, one suspects. In two succinct lines, Mrs. Smith has implied that:

1. She's sick of his horrible jokes.
2. She, in contrast, is "perfectly good" - unlike him and his rude cracks about the food.
3. He has not supplied the home with sufficiently shiny and new things. In fact, it is quite a flophouse - and he's lucky she didn't elaborate.

So what will Mr. Smith do? Apologize? Offer to have a balanced and therapeutic discussion? No - it's off to the appliance store instead, where spending money makes everything right again. Mr. Smith turns to the psychologically wise salesman, who has a bunch of shiny things to unload on the customers. Mr. Smith plays right into his hands, in fact:

We're having toast-trouble at our house. If you've got a toaster that couldn't burn toast on a bet, that's the one for me. [Translation: I need a toaster that so fool-proof that even Mildred can't louse up the toast.]

Ah, toast-trouble. It's a common marital problem. Next will come the revolt of the rissoles, the kitchen-counter-revolution and, finally, the dinner-hour casserole catastrophe.

So Mr. Smith brings home a Toastmaster and says to the strangely-radiant Mrs. Smith, "This ought to solve the problem, dear."  [Translation: This ought to shut you up. I hope. Although my jokes about burnt toast really were very funny.]

And yet - the next morning, she comes out with this very curious statement. Not unadulterated coos of joy about her marvelous new Toastmaster toaster, oh no:

"John, I can't bear it! You're mild as a lamb every morning. What'll I do, now that you don't have burnt toast every morning?"

What does she mean, what'll I do? Did she like the burnt-toast jokes after all? Maybe that toast-trouble was keeping things  - exciting. Time to break out the emergency box of Rice Krispies.

[Horrifyingly big version here, from Life, February 19, 1940.]


Barbara said...

"John, ever since you bought the new toaster, you don't backhand me in the morning. I miss that, so I've burned your eggs in the lousy skillet that hasn't been replaced in years..."

Jeez, these old ads really sold stuff? Wow!

Bill said...

In 1985, after 45 uneasy years of marriage, Mr. Smith filed for divorce. Mildred Smith consistently failed to count the seconds between pops, and the Smith home was filled with the smell of burnt microwave popcorn every evening during Law & Order reruns.

PJ said...

just give it a few months and it'll burn the toast again...hehehe.

have a great day!

Tori Lennox said...

I have a strong urge to smack Mildred myself....

Kath Lockett said...

I'm hoping that Mildred is a slow-burner herself and was merely biding her time until her old man brought the appliance home and then, as he settled into the armchair with his pipe, slippers and newspaper; she snuck up behind him, oh-so-quietly wiht the still-hot toaster in her hands and....


Shay said...

She should have dumped the crumbs on his side of the bed.

Relax Max said...

1940? Really? I thought they just made toast in those side opening things back then. And they had sliced bread too, I guess.

I'm picturing the manikin toupe hair guy looking down into the toastmaster. Getting closer now. Closer...

Lidian said...

Barbara - It's truly amazing that they managed to sell anything at all.

Bill - How did you know?

PJ - Oh, that it will ;)

Tori - Yes, they are both pretty annoying.

Kath - ...And this was made into a movie starring Joan Crawford (that has been lost, mysteriously - or was it burnt?!)

Shay - Yes, she should have. Probably did.

Max - Hypnotizing, those shiny toasters...Actually the best toaster I ever saw was in a hotel in England, an old-fashioned thing where the toast went into a sort of machine and then slid out like a car on the Ford assembly line. It was very old, and quite enchanting! We all had toast every day just so we could watch it.

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

Blimey, a toaster as a present?

If I were her, I'd have said "Make your own toast, buster!" :D

Mr. Stupid said...

All this for a Toaster? I just wonder what today's Ad Pundits would think of these.
Anyways, well

Lidian said...

Richard - Maybe that day is coming, now.

Mr. Stupid - Yes, all this. But such a big, shiny toaster!

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Look at the shoulders on her. She could probably make him eat that toaster. She appears to be thinking about it.