How dumb am I?

No, I mean it. How dumb AM I?

All my life. All my 41 years of life, I have sporadically heard the term “milquetoast.” I have heard this term and somehow never seen it; never known where it originated; never looked it up.

And yet, I knew what it meant. Because so often I am the milquetoastiest of the milquetoasty. I know that it means to be “weak and ineffectual” or “plain and unadventurous.” I know it means you have given in before you got good and started.

But although I knew what it meant, I had no idea where it came from or what it LITERALLY meant. I was picturing a soggy piece of toast.

Milk toast.

Because who wants milk toast, right? Who wants the piece of toast that the glass of milk turned over on, rendering it soggy and cold and clammy and useless? No one wants that. It made perfect sense to me that it would be milk toast, because I hate milk and it sounded like a perfectly awful thing to do to toast and it worked fine with the metaphors in my head.

Except that it isn’t milk toast at all. There’s no milk within 5 miles of this term.

It’s this dude. Caspar Milquetoast. A wishy washy, mamby pamby.

Huh. I feel pretty dumb right now. Especially since I have a degree in talking and writing properly.

So, what I want to know is? Is there anyone else out there that didn’t know this? Or am I the only one hiding under some milk toast?

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10 thoughts on “How dumb am I?

  1. I have known what it means for many years….and I still picture a milky piece of toast for two reasons: I don’t really know what Caspar Milquetoast looks like, but I know a lot about what toast looks like and 2) when I think of Caspar Milquetoast, I think of Casper the ghost every single time. So I have accepted the fact that I picture soggy toast and that is that. πŸ™‚

  2. I’ve heard and used the term. Did not know Caspar. Thought of Milky-Toast when using the term. However, my mother was raised on buttery toast, with warm milk and sugar poured over the top. This, to my surprise, is quite good. No, I do not make it, but every once in a while, I wish I was at home with my mom and her comforting breakfasts. (My kids would cringe and spew at the thought of a breakfast of bread soaked in milk….even if sugar was added.)

  3. Not dumb at all. I did not know this, and I know alot of useless minutia crowding my head. I have heard the term, but never had seen it in print, so I also thought it was “milk toast” or “milktoast.”

  4. I guess you didn’t read my post about that a year or two ago, I was aghast that it was spelled like that instead of milk toast and read all about it. : )

  5. I never knew about the Casper Milquetoast character. I always thought it meant a whimpy, whipped person, easily pushed around. I guess I wasn’t far from wrong, however if I ever needed to spell it I would have used the milktoast choice. Maybe we’re all in the same “dumb” basket.

  6. I’ve heard the term … thought it was spelled milk toast … and never really knew what it meant exactly. Thanks for the education! I must be dumb. πŸ˜‰

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