Don’t put cheese in the toaster.

You’ve probably heard that the U.S. is slipping into third-world status in some respects. Here’s a portent: someone has posted a sign at work, DON’T PUT CHEESE IN THE TOASTER.

What does this sign indicate? It indicates that one of our many workers from a foreign country is used to high-tech toasters that can accommodate cheese. Whereas our U.S. toasters can be dialed up to handle a bagel, but that’s about it. Our toasters don’t even pop up the toast like they used to. Back in the day, you could count on a toaster in a movie popping toast into the air, to be snatched on the fly by Dagwood or Lassie.

Once you have a toaster that can handle cheese, you’re standing on the threshold of some great good-eatin experiences. Have you ever toasted ice cream, so that it gets a crust? Mmm-mmm.

I guess that if you went over to a kitchen in Denmark or Finland or, like, Switzerland, you’d encounter all sorts of devices on the counter, of whose uses you could have no clue. What can you do with water in an American kitchen? Freeze it or boil it. That’s about it. In Finland, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve heard that they’ve got thirty words for water over there, and a thing that you plug in to turn water into goo, or coffee, depending on the setting.

We had an au pair from Finland. She was good with the baby but in the kitchen? A total loss. She’d walk out there and look around, confused. Where’s the fernod? she’d ask. Where’s the grandisk? How do you rassel the potatoes?

Me, I’m glad. Walk, don’t ride. In the old days, nobody ever got more than ten miles from home. Or cave. Let’s go back to dirt floors. Do you hate to mop the floor? I do. No mopping a dirt floor. Let’s go back to hunting and gathering. I like to gather. As soon as I stand up from this, I’m going to go out and gather something. I’ve been arrested three times for gathering but I’ve never been sentenced, only committed.