“Whatever you do, NEVER hit the big yellow button.”
The sign had yellowed with age. The tape sticking it to my monitor had turned a golden color. The black ballpoint ink had faded into pale grey, but the sign was still legible.
On my first day of work, I had written this sign. “When you use Discover,” Tom said, “Don’t hit the big yellow button.”
It took me a long time to find out what Discover was. It took me longer to find the big yellow button. It was alone on the screen. There was no where else for my mouse to click. “Um, Tom?”
He pointed out a tiny hyperlink in the footer of the page. “Click there, instead.”
So, we dodged the yellow button. We clicked around it. We accessed Discover without using the yellow button’s power.
I asked once, what would happen if we did click the big yellow button. Tom shuddered and shook his head. “I did it once, things got ugly. Trust me. Never click it.”
I used his login for Discover. If I clicked on the yellow button, it would be him that got in trouble, not me. I like Tom though. I wouldn’t intentionally do that to him. This is the way we work, the way we have worked for two years.
Yesterday, Tom dropped his phone in the cradle and he walked over to my desk.
“So, remember how we were never supposed to click the big yellow button?”
“The footer link is gone. We have no other choice. We have to click it now.”
“Are we going to get in trouble?”
“I just got off the phone with Peter, and he said I could use it.”
“…. have you clicked it?”
“Way, way better!” His eyes flashed with rare excitement, “I’m going to spend all day in there!”
I looked at the sign on my computer monitor and thought about removing it. Should I? It’s not valid any more. But it’s a really intriguing sign. It makes me think wild things.
It makes me think of the president’s red phone in Get Smart, and of the weirdly coincidental self-destruct mechanisms that only exist when the plots need them to.
It makes me think of stories about wanting to do something we’re not allowed to do.
It makes me want to know what happens when I click it.
I smile at the sign, and leave it taped to the monitor.
I open Discover.
And I click.