This myth is almost too embarrassing to post on my blog. Surely, no one could take this canard seriously! Alas . . . it keeps turning up on those e-mails that get passed around the Internet.
Ron Cofield, Director of Interpretation at Historic London Town and Gardens, dealt with this myth so succinctly a couple years ago that I cannot do better than to quote his words.
“Find a dictionary, look up the definition for toaster, then toast, then the suffix -er. If you still feel that the above saying is correct, stop leading tours or talking about history.”
It shouldn’t be necessary to add that you don’t turn the toaster with your toe; the handle is meant to be moved with your hand.
Gregory Hubbard says:
March 18, 2012 at 3:49 am
Many years ago, I toured the Davenport House in Savannah with friends. The guide for our visit rattled off an impressive store of these, most of which were new to me, and all of them of mind numbing foolishness. Apparently our forbearers had no command of common sense or logic, and it only got worse. She informed us that one of the ground floor mantles was now in a nearby home, and a second floor mantle had been moved to replace it.
‘But aren’t they different in style and size?’ we asked.
“Oh yes,’ she answered, ‘but no one notices…’
‘Why don’t you buy back the original?’
‘Why? We have such a nice one from the second floor…’
It was at this point that Alice disappeared down the rabbit hole.
My friends could only swallow their outrage and laughter for so long… They looked like they might be sick as they fled the house. The very best part of this was the earnest look on the face of our host as she tossed these silly-isms out, and the sincere attention of our fellow guests as they slurped up every one.
It was fortunate that we toured the Davenport home first, sort of an inoculation against silliness, as the tours of the other homes, the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace notable among them, only got worse…
March 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm
I really have heard this on a LOT of house tours, so thanks for addressing this. I think that explanations of “why” just really appeal to people. Perhaps they appeal to people more than the concept that not all aspects of history are easily explained.