I Want My Button to Pop

A few months ago I was taking my Thanksgiving turkey out of the oven and was overcome by an intense feeling of envy. The turkey’s button had popped. It was done. I sensed an air of congratulation between the oven and the bird. Perhaps a high five, maybe two thumbs up. And I couldn’t help thinking, I want that.

Imagine being in grade one again. Your teacher is going over the words on the white board, the iPad‚Ķ whatever kids use these days. Sat, cat, mat, fat, rat. The child spits the words out and suddenly, a button pops right out of his neck. “You’ve got this!” the teacher says. “You’re all done. Go play in the gym with the others.”

Or, you’re out on a date. You’ve been a little nervous about the person you’ve chosen from the online dating site, “We’re Your Last Hope.” You walk into the restaurant, see your guy already seated. Your eyes meet, you walk over with a big smile and start talking. After a mere fifteen minutes, the button in your neck suddenly pops. And you can’t help noticing that his has popped, too. Your waiter also notices and brings you both free dessert to celebrate.

Without the button, you might have needed a lot more time to figure out if this person was right for you. But the button never fails. You can both relax into your new relationship knowing that your search is over.

The button would also be a game changer at the gym. You might have worked out for only twenty minutes when your coach, (let’s call her Tracy) walks over and says, ‘Put that kettle bell down. Your button just popped!’ A cheer goes up from a few friends, with some resentful looks from others as you leave class forty minutes early.

This would also be useful in a therapy session. You’ve talked until you’re blue in the face, and just when you’re starting to feel that you’ll never figure yourself out, your button pops. The therapist jumps to her feet, checks her watch and says, ‘Okay, beat it. You’re all better. Don’t bother coming back.” Perhaps this sounds harsh. But you should feel light hearted because you’ve straightened out your psyche and are filled with emotional well being.

You’d never have to take anyone at their word anymore. “I didn’t do it,” says a suspected thief/liar/future politician. But their button is still securely stuck in it’s holder. It is obvious to everyone that this person is not telling the truth. Every citizen could be compelled to attend a morals class and the ones whose buttons pop would get to wear a badge showing their ethical purity.

Others would watch with envy and possibly work harder on their own behavior, hoping to get the same result. Yes, it might end up being a bit of a contest. But imagine knowing that you’re done with everything. Love, emotional stability, math, and high moral standards.

If only we could figure this out. Maybe we could provide robotics engineers with buttons scavenged from the turkey factory. However we do it, I’m in. The only other thing is, once your button has popped for learning to read and being toilet trained, does the button get pushed in until the next event? And does that mean you’re never really done?

Perhaps the robotics engineers could arrange a series of buttons down your left arm (the creative one) that each have to pop in turn. The only downside is, what if you’re terrible at math? Or, what if all your friends are walking around with their love buttons popped and you alone have not met your match? Or, maybe you’re a decent enough person, but not perfect. Your moral code button may stay firmly stuck in its holder. And yet, you say to yourself, ‘I’m not a serial killer. I’m a bit rude but there are worse people out there than me.’ This could lead to a two tier society. Those who’ve popped every button, and those sullen, left out folk who are forced into anarchist behavior because they just can’t take it anymore.

So, maybe it won’t work. I guess some things that look very utopian to some, like the 2016 US election, or the Russian Revolution, can become dystopian when they don’t live up to their claims. Maybe even turkeys are feeling bad about their buttons. ‘Why can’t I decide when I’m done,” they complain as they huddle together in the grocery store freezer. On second thought, that’s too creepy to even contemplate. So never mind. I don’t need a button to tell me this blog post is done.

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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