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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Toast Tuesday

Like many schools, my school endeavours to teach children to be kind.

We want our students to grow up displaying empathy for others, to show compassion and to not act like they would if they were say… the sole surviving species in an apocalyptic scenario where everyone over the age of sixteen was dead and they were free to pillage the world eating each other’s brains.

Part of this education in altruistic benevolence is Toast Tuesday and Toast Thursday.

Our ‘social justice’ committee in Year Six is commissioned to purchase, prepare, cook and decorate slices of toast and vegemite twice a week to the poor, unfortunate, and starving children at our school.

May it be noted, that not a single one of our students is poor or unfortunate or starving, however, we persist in the making and doling out of toast to the hungry horde.

When I say we, I mean mostly me.

Why? I hear you ask. Why is it mostly you?

Is it because those selfish little brats on the ‘social justice’ committee can’t be bothered to turn up early in the morning to toast duty, thus leaving you all alone to shoulder the burden of asking, “Would you like toast and butter or toast and vegemite”, two hundred times, twice a week?

No, it is not.

The reason the millstone is placed around my own scrawny neck, is because I have personally carved out that millstone myself and wear it like I would a string of pearls gifted to me by my Grandmama on her deathbed.

I love handing out toast. It makes me feel… valued.

When the little preppies wobble up, their sweet faces barely showing over the counter, I get to hand over a delicious slice of golden bread dripping with Black and Gold Margarine with the salty black congealed tar that is Vegemite spread thickly over the top, and they smile at me and say, “Thank you Mrs Poinker”, and I feel as though I’m doing something great for humanity.

Unfortunately, like Gollum with his precious ring, I have become a little possessive of my career niche.

We had an important early morning meeting one Tuesday.

“I can’t come, sorry,” I said to the Principal. “I have to make toast.”

“Don’t be ridiculous," he said. "Get someone else to make it. You need to be at the meeting.”

“That's impossible,” I said. "I’m sorry but no one else knows how to do it.”

He looked at me with a quizzical glint in his eye. “No one else knows how to make toast? Don’t you just put it in a toaster?”

“No,” I said in a mysterious whisper. “There’s a lot more to it than that.”

Ten minutes later, the Deputy Principal came barging into the tuckshop, chucked me out and ordered me to go to the meeting, but I bet the toast didn’t taste anywhere near as good that day AND she left crumbs in the toaster tray.

The only problem with Toast Days is the ‘social committee’. If I didn’t have to put up with ‘helpful kids’ getting in my way as I bustle around busily, things would be perfect. 

But wouldn’t that be defeating the purpose, I hear you yelling.

No. They have their whole lives in front of them to be kind. I’m running out of time.

I try to sneak into the tuckshop and have two loaves of bread toasted and buttered before they even notice I’m there.

“Do you need us to make toast, Mrs Poinker?” they’ll ask, breezing into the tuckshop with their annoyingly bright helpful faces.

“No,” I sigh in martyrdom. “I’ve done most of it. Try again next week.”

One time, an over-enthusiastic social justice committee member had the audacity to take a piece of toast out of the toaster.

“What are you doing?” I trilled. “That’s my job! It’s far too dangerous for you to touch the toaster. Please don’t do it again. Just stick to buttering thank you.”

And I don’t like the way the kids butter or put the Vegemite on either. I have a specific method of application which can not be replicated by an amateur.

Soon, due to many reasons, I shall have to depart my dear little country school and I will be mandated to write a resume.

‘Very good at making toast’, will be heading my list of achievements.