The bread has edges, beyond which the peanut butter cannot go. But because the bread does have edges, toast made right will support peanut butter--or marmalade, or Nutella, or cream cheese--all the way out to those edges. The details matter, especially if you're preparing that toast for someone else.
What if you're making that toast for yourself? You can do it any way you like, of course. But consider the choice you have if you're making toast for yourself, all alone one morning, with nobody else around. I wonder if sometimes in the service of ourselves we think, "It's just for me. It really doesn't matter how it comes out, and it's just a piece of toast."
That's true to a degree. No one will know if you under-browned the bread or missed a corner with the raspberry jam. But standards begin with an internal adjudication, and the moment we begin equivocating about whether quality matters in private is the moment we begin eroding quality in public.
Sounds obsessive, doesn't it? Sounds a little nuts.
It doesn't have to become a boat anchor around the neck of your life. The point is that small gestures add up. In aggregate they begin to describe how we approach our days, how we think about thinking, how we regard an endeavor undertaken and a mission completed. Making toast should not become a complicated process. But next time you're about to coat a good piece of pumpernickel with butter and jam, notice the fine details around the perimeter. If it's for you, there's a moment's pleasure in knowing it's just the way you like it, however that may be. If it's for someone else, enjoy the fact that he or she will ever-so-slightly appreciate the care you took to do it right.
PS -- Yes, yes, here's where the good people of 1AU ask our dear readers to share what you've read with friends and colleagues. And here's the place where you think, "Oh, sure, one more imposition of my precious time." Well, we're asking. It's something we value above rubies, above gold: if you like an idea enough to give it a moment's thought, then consider giving it a measure of freedom. When you share an idea with another person, you release an idea to grow freely in the world.
Like what you see? Set it free.