Show Me Your Buttons, I Dare You

April 26, 2006

Michele always said that I need to come with a warning label, perhaps a tattoo on my forehead others could read stating, "Poor Impulse Control", or "Will Play With Your Head." In any event she was well aware of my willingness to verbally poke at people if only to discover their hot buttons. Never to be malicious, just to understand what made them tick. Some people display their buttons more openly than others, and some need to just stay indoors.

When I'm driving I often toy with the driver behind me, particularly if s/he wants to tailgate. Crowding me in an effort to make me go faster or to get out of their way when there isn't an open lane for me to move to will result in my slowing down, not in my speeding up. The expression on the face of the following driver who just allowed me to ratchet up their blood pressure is always worth the few seconds I add to my drive.

Recently I've discovered a new game: instant message chat status messages. I can cause at least one of my correspondents status message to change just by changing mine. Over the weekend I saw a bumper sticker I really liked. The sticker, an obvious play on the popular "WWJD" wrist bands read, "What Would Scooby Doo?" In the past couple of days I have started using this as a chat status message. Every time I have one of my correspondents has immediately changed their status to be something biblical. Like watching the people in your sparring division at a tournament to determine whether they are right or left handed, and does their body favor high kicks, learning that this individual can be poked with religious humor and knowing their response gives me tremendous insight into their thinking and behaviors.

Of course I realize that I have buttons too, and for the most part I know what they are and how I respond to their being pushed. I'm also reflective enough to recognize when someone has discovered a new button and is poking it (deliberately or inadvertently). Who's to say that I'm not above using my buttons as a lure to discover more facets of the people around me?

Author's profile picture

Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.