Buttons and Tubs: Everyday Items or Philosophical Conundrums?

I strive, on occasion, to assign deep philosophical meaning to rather mundane or pointless analogies. It’s a challenge of sorts. Am I able to look at a given farce and find that it may, in some small way, be transformed or infused with meaning, however menial whatever meaning may be found might be? Case in point, I recently became aware that buttons spelled backward is snottub. This is utterly meaningless philosophically. Literally, it has a certain humorous aspect. A tub full of snot. Or perhaps a tub made of snot. Ha ha! Yes. So. This is insufficient. I came up with nothing. Who could philosophize about that? Perhaps Plato? Socrates? Sadly, no. These men are long dead. This realization caused my spirit to collapse under the pressure I’d placed upon it.

For many long hours my spirit and I pondered our quandary, he dejectedly, I disinterestedly, until finally we realized that by removing the S, perhaps a breakthrough could be made. Button backward is nottub. Or not tub. This could be seen philosophically because it works on two levels. Button backward is both not tub phonetically and it is literally not tub. Buttons and tubs are fairly opposite but there are similarities. Both items work to hold something back. In the case of tubs it is most generally liquid. Buttons usually work together to enclose seams that enshroud flesh thereby holding back immodesty. Both have means of disengagement that dispel whatever substance is caught within their confines. And yet they are nothing alike. When wishing for a bath, one would not logically go for a button. Neither would one reach for a tub when wishing to conceal one’s flesh or create a barrier against the cold. Although, the argument could be made that a tub could be used as a barrier against the cold in a pinch, but such an arrangement would be most uncomfortable and inconceivably inefficient.

These musings also appear meaningless until you apply the idea that the tub is good and the button is evil. They war tirelessly one with another, the tub filling to cleanse the flesh, the button becoming stuck in its hole thereby refusing to bare the flesh for washing. And yet they both serve the purpose of making the flesh socially acceptable, working together to clean and conceal. In this wise they represent the idea that there is a bit of evil in good and a bit of good in evil. In deference to my father’s abhorrence of such an idea I concede that I speak merely of fleshly beings. In no way do I intend to imply that God has evil within him. Nor do I feel the Devil has a bit of good within him. I simply surmise that even when we, as flawed mortals, attempt to be “good” it is most generally not without at least a slight selfish slant. Conversely, when we set out to do evil, do we not at some point in plotting our misdeeds have a sudden, no matter how slight, twinge of self loathing as we come face to face with our moral reprobation?

Having succeeded in my goal of assigning deep meaning to the most meaningless analogy I happened to conjure I shall gleefully bid you Adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…remember that button backward is not tub the next time you do a good deed.

A don’t…forget the lesson of the button and the tub upon your next foray into the darkest recesses of your psyche.


Author: macbick

I am a writer who takes joy in presenting ideas that I find funny or strange. In addition to blogging I write children's books that, I hope, will bring families together for a few minutes while inspiring laughter, questions, conversations and introducing a few new words. Visit my Facebook page @williamennisauthor for more on my philosophy and to preview my book. Only one is out so far. Many more to come soon.

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