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April 26th, 2002

Push Button Wait for Walk Signal

My friends, my friends: while there have been large dupes in recent years, I propose that there is a much larger dupe afoot: the button at intersections labeled, simply, “Push Button Wait for Walk Signal.”

There has never been an instance I have witnessed in which one has pressed the PBWFWS and directly caused the walk signal to appear. One would think that would be the case, after all, since the sign tells the pedestrian that pressing the button will cause the walk signal to appear. But I’ve never not seen the walk signal appear – ever. That includes my years of living in the suburbs as well as my time in the city.

Thus, I firmly believe that the PBWFWS is a placebo. The sign will change without your intervention – so why is it there? My theory is that it gives the ped a chance to feel empowered. “I press this button, I cause the walk signal to appear! Ha ha, I can force traffic to stop and wait for me!” It seems to be a rather unnecessary thing; consider it the appendix to the human body that is an intersection.

Posted in Everyday Life

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