In a world full of problems he can’t fix, Phil Kadner writes, he might at least try to find a really good toaster. And even that, he says, can be tough.

I realize my search for the perfect toaster seems insignificant, but I embarked on my quest after hearing on TV about the thousands of Haitian immigrants stranded at the U.S. border with Mexico. I could do nothing for them.

I was searching the Internet for the best bagel toaster when I found one that seemed perfect. Extra wide slots for the bagel slices. A gizmo to control how light or dark you wanted the bagel toasted and another gadget for checking on the bagel periodically to make sure it wasn’t overdone. It even had a removable tray for cleaning bagel debris.

But when I went to Amazon to read the reviews of people who had bought the toaster, several were rather negative.

One said the smell from the toaster was so foul he had to put the thing in the garage to keep it from stinking up his house. This reviewer added that after several days of operating in his garage, the stench wasn’t so bad so he brought it back inside. It still smelled a little strange, but the bagels were nicely toasted.

Another reviewer said she purchased the toaster for her business cafeteria and the smell was so rank that people sitting in enclosed offices hundreds of feet away came out in search of the revolting odor.

I moved on. I found another toaster that was not only highly recommended, but much cheaper.

Back to Amazon for the customer reviews.

Great toaster at first, people said, but then it began to smoke and catch fire.

Worse, the bagels were toasted unevenly.

I realize my search for the perfect toaster seems insignificant, but I decided to embark on my quest after hearing on TV about the thousands of Haitian immigrants stranded at the U.S. border with Mexico. I could do nothing for them. No one seems to be able to help.

That was disappointing, so I opened the pages of my favorite newspaper and read a story headlined, “It’s Just Like The Wild West.”

Five men linked to a deadly gang shooting in Austin, the story said, had not been charged with murder and had been released from custody in part, according to an official report, because they were deemed “mutual combatants.”

In other words, if one group of people shoots at another group of people and that group of people fires back the parties are each engaged in a mutual attempt to kill each other so there are no grounds to file charges. Just like the Old West.

This official report may have been written by a fan of the “Squid Game” on Netflix. This is a Korean TV show where hundreds of contestants are invited to participate in children’s games. It is currently the most watched show on Netflix worldwide and one of the big reasons is that the contestants die during the competitions. I should point out that this streaming program is fiction, at least for now.

Back on the streets of Chicago, the Body Snatchers, a faction of a gang known as the Four Corner Hustlers, drove to the 1200 block of North Mason Avenue and fired at least 70 rounds at a home where the Jack Boys were inside firing back.

The Jack Boys are another, rival faction of the Four Corner Hustlers.

This is not fiction, but it is the sort of deadly game children play on the streets of Chicago every day.

I set my newspaper aside and went back to reading a new book by Bob Woodward about Donald Trump that made it sound as though our former president was a real nut job. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff cautioned his subordinates not to follow any order issued by the commander-in-chief in his final days without first clearing it with him. He feared Trump might start a war or declare martial law to remain in power.

Millions of people still love Trump and are eager to see him back in the White House. They believe the election was stolen from him because that’s what Trump tells them.

These people also refuse to get vaccinated against COVID. Nothing anyone says seems to change their minds.

So, with no ability to influence really important events, I decided to search for a good bagel toaster. I failed, even at that.

Email: philkadner@gmail.com

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

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