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I Used to Fear Nuclear War Until I Realized No One is Capable of Pushing Buttons

August 6, 2011

I Love the Smell of Napalm in the Morning.

I’m sorry that I haven’t posted in a while. Some of you may have even begun to question my commitment to Sparkle Motion. Rest assured I will be posting again soon. I just have been busy lately this last few months getting married, starting a new job and having a lobotomy. But really those are just excuses…

What I don’t understand is that there are still people in this modern age of ours that are inexplicably still unable to press buttons. You wouldn’t think that it would be so difficult. However, apparently the simple task of both locating a button and then pressing said button is a diminishing art. This is why I no longer fear nuclear war.

“Could you please take our picture?” I ask the couple passing by as my new wife and I walk along the beach.

Indecipherable response.” (I think I hear the woman actually swear in Vietnamese under her breath. I know it wasn’t Japanese because those folk love taking pictures.)

“Yes, that’s right. The big shiny button on the right-hand side of the camera on top.” (I begin to wonder if somehow I’ve stopped speaking English and now am mysteriously communicating in glottal stops and sign language.) I imagine that cavemen had more positive experiences trying to communicate with their “wives” after they clubbed and dragged them home.

“Yes. Exactly. The big silver button on top of the camera.” I want to point out to the woman that the location of the button on my camera is the same as every other camera on the face of the planet not specifically designed for left-handed people. I resist this urge but I am reasonably sure that she is beginning to sense my annoyance.

I start to smile for the photo. Then there is a long awkward pause as the lady still seems confused as to which button to press in order to take the picture. I stop smiling and begin to wonder if the passerby is actually just messing with me or if she really still can’t figure out that the shiny silver button is the one she needs to push.


“You weren’t smiling for the picture” the kind lady informs me. I want to tell her this is because she took 15 seconds to figure out which button to push and I was beginning to think her incompetence was simply a ruse to steal my camera. What I actually say is “Yeah, I’m sorry. I’m not that photogenic. Do you think you could try and take one more?”

This is why I no longer fear nuclear war. I imagine that if some soldier somewhere really did get the confirmation to launch nuclear missiles the situation would quickly devolve into something like this:

“Confirmed. We have received clearance to launch. Please initiate launch sequence.”

“Yes sir. Launching now.” replies the corporal sitting at the missile command center whose sole responsibility after years of intensive training consists of pressing one single button. He begins to tentatively reach his hand out towards the control panel and then pulls it back. You can see the confusion beginning to creep over his face. He risks a furtive glance towards his commanding officer and then looks back to the display in front of him.

“Is there an issue corporal?” asks his sergeant. “I mean, seriously? It’s the BIG RED BUTTON labeled ‘Press Me to End the World!’ How fucking hard is that to understand?”

“No, sir. I see it now. Just got a little confused there for a second.” He hesitantly reaches out his hand a second time and it’s apparent that he still has no clue which button to push. He’s interrupted though as the red emergency phone begins to ring.

The sergeant picks up the telephone. “No, sir. Understood. Confirming cancellation of launch. Yes, sir. That was close one.” He then hangs up the phone and begins yelling at his subordinate. “What’s your damage soldier? I mean you have one freaking responsibility! Your sole purpose for existence is to be able to push a button and you can’t even do that right! Fucking GEORGE JETSON can do it. What’s the matter with you?”

All that to say, I no longer fear nuclear war. Crisis averted.

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One Comment
  1. David permalink

    On the contrary, what if someone hit the all-important button by accident? Check out the Countdown to Zero on Netflix. You just might shift your position.

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