This is a Thing of Purpose.

I’m not the first one to say this, and won’t be the last: I’m fairly certain that we’ve lost our collective minds. We used to buy stuff and it lasted a long time. Now we consider a $600 phone to be ancient after two years, and we desperately need to replace it. This is a story of one object that predates most of my early memories. It may out-live me. I guess it would be nice if reliability and quality were a normal thing, not a luxury thing.

This is the toaster my parents bought when we moved to Canada, and almost 40 years later it still works. It’s got a classic 70’s modern pallet — black, white, silver, wood (er . . . remind you of any amplifiers?) A lot of the enamel has worn off. The sound of the mechanical arm and lock used to drop and hold the bread into the cavity is straight up horror-flick-rusty-bolt-unshackling.

But despite these superficial deficiencies, it works very well. It consistently toasts perfectly. The slots are too small for bagels, you have no choice but to heat up all four slots every time you use it regardless of your slice count, and it cannot fit a small cornish hen. Do not attempt to slice a cornish hen to fit into the toaster. Because it’s for bread. Regular sliced bread.

It does one thing really well: toasts between 1 and 4 slices of bread. It will not connect to the internet, you will never toast bread from your iphone. Certainly not from your connected watch.

Sometimes when the peanut butter is a little cold, I put the jar really close to the toaster, and that little side warms up a bit. So there’s that.

But otherwise, it’s a device for making bread just a little crispy, but not yet cracker like. And it is perfect. May your life have just a few things that are as well built as this.

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