Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What Does This Button Do?

That’s the question. The answer is, “Stop!”

There was a story about a lady on the Andrea Doria, which had the bad luck to be t-boned one night by the ice-breaker-equipped Stockholm in the Atlantic. The Doria is at the bottom of the ocean; the Stockholm sails on to this day as the cruise ship Athena.

Anyway, the lady in question was poking around in her closet when she noticed a button, or switch, she hadn’t seen before. “What does this button do?” she might have asked. So she pushed it. And the ship lurched, rolled a bit on its side and came to a sudden stop. As a steward flew down the corridor, she tried to tell him what she had done.

“I just pushed this button,” she said. “It was only this button.” But nobody would listen to this dear old gal. It was just this button, just this button. But they wouldn’t listen.

Another story, another time: The late afternoon of November 9, 1965. A boy is walking home holding a stick. Norman Rockwell picture all over again: Small New England town, boy, stick, telephone pole that needs a gentle whack with the stick. So he whacks it and all the lights in town go out.

He runs home, scared that he is responsible and hears all the lights went out in the Northeast. It’s not really his fault after all; daddy and mommy aren’t mad.


Post a Comment

<< Home