Q: I have an old toaster. When I put a slice of toast in the toaster and press the lever down it goes down, but when it comes back up it isn’t toasted enough. So I press it back down it comes right back up so I hold the lever down it makes a funny noise. Why does it do that?
– wanting to know why (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A: Now I want you to remain very calm and listen carefully to what I am about to say. The reason that your toast is not getting toasted is quite simply that it’s not really a slice of toast! It’s an impenetrable vessel harboring tiny alien life forms, a breakfast trojan horse engineered by a mind-boggling extraterrestrial intelligence, designed to smuggle them into your kitchen so that they may take control of your mind!
Hopefully you’ve remained calm and are ready to pay very close attention to my explanation of what to do. Act normal, don’t look at the toaster! Just keep reading this page and eating your Cheez-Its.
That buzzing noise your toaster makes when you hold the lever down is the amplified sound of the communications uplink that the aliens have established through your electrical wiring to the rest of your appliances, so that they may be programmed to participate in a vast household conspiracy to drive you insane. Does any of the following sound familiar? Your VCR flashes 12:00 constantly. Your toilet makes a subtle “shhhhh” noise until you jiggle the handle. You receive mysterious unsolicited telephone calls where a recorded voice tells you to wait for the “next available operator,” who subsequently tries to sell you bulk meat products and an industrial-sized freezer to hold them.
Yes, the aliens are subtle and insidious with their scheming ways. But there is hope for you, if you follow my instructions exactly. You must kill your toaster! When I give the signal, you must lunge at your toaster, remove the communications uplink (power cord) from the wall, throw it on the floor, and then topple your refrigerator onto it, thereby smashing your toaster and its wretched alien inhabitants into a thousand pulverized bits. Now, GO!!!
If you’re reading this paragraph, I guess you survived without being atomized by tiny alien death-o-rays. Either that, or your toaster was just broken and there were no aliens. Either way, have fun cleaning up the mess!
– Dr. Toast