i happen to have the privilege to have married a woman who owned a ‘99 Volkswagen Cabrio; and despite there not being enough room in the vehicle for “Marfan-oid” individuals, such as myself, there’s really only one thing i didn’t like about the car: button “b”. see, there’s this stupid little button in the middle of the dash that does absolutely nothing. literally. the title is a quote from the instruction manual. i can still recall our conversation when she first revealed this sad commentary on society to me. there i was, bored in my fiancées fancy new ride, literally just pushing buttons and playing with stuff. finally, i started poking button “b”. plink-plink, i pushed it in, and nothing happened. plink-plink, i popped it out, and still nothing. i figured maybe it had to be on for the button to do something. after all, it was wedged between the buttons controlling the back windows, so maybe it has some kind of powered function. so, after Laura was back in the car, i set about my mission once more; plink-plink, plink-plink, plink-plink, plink-plink. nothing! “oh, that’s button ‘b’; it has no function.” chimed Laura, her grin perceptible on her breath. ever skeptical, and influenced by years of being told that the Germans excel at engineering and practicality, i was sure she was wrong. “look it up. it’s in the manual under button ‘b’.” so i did, and sure enough, right below the diagram of the console it read : “button ‘b’- has no function.”
needless to say, though initially aggravated by this stupidity, and using it as fuel for the fire of my personal vendetta against all things Volkswagen (what can i say; i still can’t get over WW2), i was always happy to have an unsuspecting passenger sit shotgun, and excitedly tell them to push the button. after getting them to jab it a few times, i would then reveal not only it’s complete lack of function, but would even open the manual as proof of it’s utter futility. but the sad thing is the Cabrio isn’t the only current representation in modern society mass-produced with “button ‘b’”. from computers to clothing, pharmaceuticals to plastic bags, nearly every portion of life is infiltrated with components made just below their best so you’ll always be ready to buy the “better/new and improved”, yet also incomplete, version. worse yet, so many things, the Cabrio included, are manufactured from the start to produce waste, excess, unnecessary components. maybe here to create jobs, or there to satisfy a quota, but in the end, still useless. sure, plenty of aftermarket adjustments may need an extra button, but is that really a reason to mass produce, in every single model, a button with no purpose; and then, mass produce manuals, assuring the owners that indeed, this button has no purpose?
this doesn’t work just because companies are merely manipulating the public; rather, it works because the public has manipulated product characteristics to better meet their lifestyles. people need to have their buttons “b” in their life; it helps them feel better about themselves. i know what you’re thinking, “where’s the connection, kamarr? how would a button ‘b’ make me feel better?” well i already gave you the answer: button “b” has no function; and to be honest, often it seems that neither do you. when you sit there and decide to think and not act, your thoughts are button “b”. when you go to class but sleep it away, your attendance is button “b”. when you preach tolerance and equality but deny thy brother, your beliefs are button “b”. when you blame the media for the deaths of children, but never help someone else feel alive, your words are button “b”. when you complain about immigrants taking all the jobs, but refuse to mow your own lawn, your values are button “b”. when you moan about the state of the world “these days’” but refuse to go to city council meetings, your opinions are button “b”. and when you lie in complacency, never achieving your awesome potential, your life is button “b”.
but, i have found, that, like the button “b” in my wife’s Cabrio, you need not feel condemned, and resign yourself to a useless existence. you can be assigned a function; and, more specifically, you can be given purpose by the very same Engineer who designed you from the start. see, you were never meant to be button “b”; no, you were crafted intentionally with a purpose in mind. and if, like me, you found yourself weary of the constant plink-plinking in your life to no avail, then i implore you, seek the Creator. receive your purpose. otherwise, your story will end just as it did for my wife’s car. we no longer have the Cabrio, having since moved on to a suv, then mini-van in our ever expanding family. since then, i have never again had a vehicle manufactured with a useless part. but when my father in-law sold off the Cabrio, it left us with button “b” intact, and devoid of function. to this day, i still remember button “b” and it’s uselessness; useless that is, except as a joke, or an interesting anecdote when conversing with others. i guess button “b” really did have a function after all; it functioned as inquisitor, subtly asking with every plink-plink, “do you have a function?”