Button Pushing

Today’s post comes from living and loving correspondent B. Marty Barry. He’s a bottomless well of wellness!

I am quite distraught over the news that Facebook is considering the addition of a “dislike” button to go alongside their already worrisome “like” button on pictures, comments and posts.

If the “dislike” button idea were a Facebook post all by itself in this possible new universe, I would press dislike dislike dislike dislike dislike dislike dislike dislike just to be sure you got the idea that I’m NOT in favor of it.

But would that work? Human emotions are so complicated and single-word communication often falls woefully short of delivering the message. It would be simpler if Facebook created a “distraught” button, which means “so upset you can’t think clearly or behave normally.”

But that’s just my reaction to this particular idea. I’m not always so upset, but to indicate it clearly on Facebook they’d have to add individual buttons for when I’m feeling incensed, perturbed, nettled, vexed, or merely annoyed. And then there are times when I’m just conflicted.

I get what Facebook is trying to do – reduce human communication to a simple menu of quick choices because accurate expression is such hard work, especially when it requires writing! I would push a “conflicted” button a lot!

But that’s the nice thing about language – actual words add precision, even when they’re inexact.

Back when I was a boy, cars started coming out with automatic transmissions that were operated by a series of buttons on the dashboard. Some designer had the bright idea of putting those buttons right in the center of the steering wheel for ease-of-use.

But the center of the steering wheel was already established as the place for one-note communication – the horn honk – which meant at least three things depending on the situation – “Look Out”, “You Idiot” or “Hi Neighbor”!

Of course people are creatures of habit, so they kept mashing the center of the wheel whenever they had one of these three feelings. The result? Ruined transmissions in their new push-button automatic cars.


(That’s not directed personally, but rather, at an idea. Although I’ve never met you, I do care about you very, very, much.)

B. Marty

If you could design a button to do one thing only, what would it do?

47 thoughts on “Button Pushing”

  1. Greetings from Pine Ridge. I would design a button that would give me automatic override on husband’s cell phone so that I could push it and then give his phone verbal commands. I usually drive when we travel and he tries to operate his cell phone to look up directions or do other things with it and he is absolutely hopeless and slow in operating his phone and it drives me crazy while I am driving because I know exactly what he needs to do to get his phone to work the way he wants but he won’t listen to my suggestions and I can’ t do anything because I am driving! There. Now I feel better. Thank you, B. Marty.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes. I read Jan’s post “On My Mother’s Birthday” – had to, really, because today would have been my mother’s 91st birthday. So when I saw the title it was a path I had to go down. Beautifully crafted and moving.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You and I are probably alone, Clyde, in knowing what it is to lose strength and dexterity in fingers. When my arthritis flared this summer I had trouble pushing simple buttons hard enough to make them work. I’ve mentioned that for some time I had to use two hands to turn the ignition key of my car. I’m better now, so I have begun regaining the ability to open food packaging :-). Two weeks ago I opened a plastic twist-off bottle of V8 without using anything but fingers. I was shocked and awed, and I threw a little party right then!

    I love it when I can push my own buttons. Now, when others try to push MY buttons, I go into counterstrike mode!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Free for IPad, which I have. Getting typing from there to my computer, where I work, is a many step process. For my computer it will run $70 or so.


        2. send it from your I pad to the computer in word or whatever.
          go to the apple store and have them explain it to you or call apple and the them you have an aversion to people and places that are crowded due to your condition and see if they can come up with a solution for you. I bet they can offer something. apple is an amazing company when it comes to accommodating.


      1. I have a writer friend who’s used Dragon for a few years, thanks to severe tendonitis. I seem to recall that it took some getting used to (on both sides), but now that she has it tuned she likes it. Way better than being in pain with nonfunctioning hands, that’s for sure!


    1. au contraire, Pierre.

      I’ve stared straight into the face of not being able to turn a doorknob when I have pushed the hands too far (and that when there was still work for them to do).

      My hands are my livlihood. I don’t know which scares me more, loss of sight or loss of dexterity. So far, the hands bounce back. I pace myself.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s a scary thing, mig, relying on your body for your livelihood. A good friend is a landscape gardener who is now in his 50s. He has spent his life in dread of some glitch in his health that will put him out of business. He runs two or three times a week and keeps his weight low, but we all know that stuff happens that we could never plan for.


      2. My hands are my art and taking care of Sandy and the apartment. My sister just called. she, who remembers such things, says it was 9 years ago today that Sandy had her “stroke” (no one knows what to call it) driving up 169.


  3. Button-shift cars came out in my HS years. I never saw one with the buttons on the steering wheel. They were on a place to the left of the steering wheel sticking out of the dash. One of my best friends drove his parents Mercury with those buttons. You had to be careful with them. As I recall they did not always work well.
    High-performance cars today, by which we mean high-priced, have many buttons to control all sorts of things that never used to be in control, like how stiff you want the suspension or tire pressure or the way the engine works, such as for fast pickup or economy.


  4. I think what Facebook really “needs” is a “I-read-your-sad/difficult/emotional/angering-post-and-I-don’t-like-what-I’ve-read-but-I want-you-to-know-I-have-registered-the-appropriate-emotion-and-I’m-with-you” button. I would take a “dislike” button to mean, “I don’t agree with you or I don’t like you for posting it.” e.g. if someone posted about yet another infuriating example of people of color being treated differently, I would press my version but “dislike” just doesn’t say enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The button I would want would have a far fluffier purpose. It would instantly put people into musical comedy big dance/singing number mode. Every would know all the steps and words and would produce a not-soon-forgotten production. It goes without saying that I would be part of it.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. My button, when pushed, would electrify the typing device used by rude, foul mouthed internet trolls to deliver a mild (very mild) shock when next used by said offender.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I guess what I’d like is unrealistic. Sometimes I think the world is unnecessarily harsh and I’d like to make it kinder. I’d like a button I could push to remind someone who has temporarily forgotten the golden rule to be kind. Sometimes people just need a little reminder.

    There seem to be some people, however, who apparently don’t care about others at all. For these people it would be nice to have an instant kindness button. I think they are in need of kindness more than others. If they were treated with kindness each time they were harsh, maybe they could eventually learn to care about others.

    Kindness buttons -that’s what I’d like.

    I really dislike posting from my mobile phone.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I’m pretty sure anything I would ask for in button form would probably involve warping the time/space continuum ( I actually am not exactly clear what the time/space continuum is, but I like how it sounds).

    I want to score the feeling of another hour of sleep for every push I would give the thing.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. YouTube has a little symbol for thumbs up, and one for thumbs down. For nearly every video posted, no matter how funny, endearing, creative, or inspirational it may be, there is at least one sourpuss who will hit the thumbs down.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I don’t use the like button because WP askes me for my password when I try to use. I don’t know my password and I don’t want to take time to ask for a new one.

    I wouldn’t like to see a dislike button. That’s too negative. How about a less abrasive word such duh.


  11. A “take back that foolish thing I just said” button could prove useful (along with several others already mentioned – I would love a “musical theater” button and a kindness button). Even with the best of intentions, words sometimes come out not how you would have hoped – and sometimes you just really stick your foot in it. It would, I’m sure, need to come with some safeguards to it wouldn’t be abused (e.g., a not nice person couldn’t malicious say something hurtful or cruel and then say “didn’t really mean it”) – it could only be used for those times when you really feel foolish and wish you could try again to say what you meant (or say nothing at all instead).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d be happy if you could just go in and fix your typos/ misspellings.
      Ravelry has an edit button that lets you do this, but then, it is in sooo many ways superior to Facebook.

      You may be able to do this on Facebook, but so far, it is not obvious to me, and I really have better things to do than go in quest of the subtle features of Facebook.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Look in the upper righthand corner. On a post, it’s an upside-down “^” sign. On a comment, it’s a pencil. You can edit or delete the post or comment entirely. I often wish WP offered me this opportunity – there’s always the typo you see the instant you hit “Post Comment”.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. ok, I will look for that next time I am on Facebook. I figured it was there, but I am not a Facebook insider 😉

          And yes, I see the typo just as I hit post too. I often don’t correct them as I figure you will all forgive me, and there is always the chance the correction will be even worse……

          Liked by 3 people

  12. People sometimes post bad news or sad news. Like is not the right answer, but knowing what to say is sometimes tricky.so a sorry button or the like. There are a range of emoticons remember.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I want a remote button that turns on the outside Christmas lights without my having to open the front door. Oh wait – I bet there’s a timer thingy I could get at the hardware store.

    And similar to edit buttons mentioned above, a button for when you re-read the recipe and realized you put in the wrong whatever…


    1. BIR- there are remote outlet thingys available at Menards (or most chain stores). They do exactly what you want. We have one for our outside lights and one for an extra light in the garage. Mom has a fan on a remote plug- in switch and at the college I have a dust collector on the table saw on a remote.
      It’s all just a button click away. 🙂


  14. Back from Pine Ridge. We distributed bags of food, Christmas presents, shoes, coats, quilts, and handfuls of candy to several hundred Lakota families Friday and Saturday. Husband was more deft with the cell phone as we travelled back home so I didn’t feel like I needed my override button.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. welcome back
      i read a book the rez by ian frazier a couple years ago about pine ridge. any better these days or was the book off base? right on the money? you don’t know? it painted a point in time but it reminded me quite a bit of our red lake situation here in minnesota. thanks to you and you husband the telephone wizard for all your efforts and we are still waiting for that video of you playing bass…


  15. Husband says Ian was pretty slanted. There are pockets of hope and change. They are struggling whether to become a non-dry reservation. There was a non-dry vote last year but the tribal council may negate the vote. You can’t judge a reservation by tribal politics. The town of Pine Ridge is the worst part of the reservation. Ian’s book is pretty old news. I didn’t play bass this time. Husband played harmonica. I looked after restless children waiting for Christmas presents.


  16. I’d like to have a Mute button. Not for the birds or rustling leaves or rain, or anything that’s worth listening to, but for the “boomer” cars that vibrate your vehicle from half a block away, and the yelling people who don’t seem to care that the whole neighborhood can hear their business, and the sirens racing along Highway 55 early in the morning, and the jets flying too low over the houses…maybe, if there was less noise in our environment, we could all calm down just a little bit.

    Liked by 2 people

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