Today: one of my favourite posts brought out for an airing. The tales here tickled me when I first heard them and they have tickled me ever since. A tale of how much men love buttons….just because you can: should you?

Bringing up a son is an education.

The male psyche is a foreign land to me, and I have, until now, expected it to send ambassadors. But sons send out no ambassadors, and I am preparing an envoy as we speak.

We ambled along the South Bank to the Tate to see what was going on this week, and found a lovely surprise. For below the ground floor, at the very base of that impressive old power station, was an exhibition tailor-made for the pint-size.

It was ‘The Itch Of The Golden Nit’.

Part of the Cultural Olympiad, and championed by classic BBC magazine programme Blue Peter, this is a first of its kind. It is animated democracy. Because it is entirely made of children’s’ own designed cartoon characters, with the artists plucked from the length and breadth of the UK.

Using drawings, workshops and the miracle of the upload, children’s’ art was collated into a half-hour long action packed adventure film, and children voted for celebrities to take the voices of the main characters.

It cost ยฃ3 million: but one watch has you hooked.

We sat in the little Tate projection room and watched, entranced, no-one more so than my son, whose eyes were as big as saucers.

He adores the hero, Ten Hearts, played byย Sanjeev Bhaskar. The epitome of dashing masculinity, for ten minutes of every day this superhero becomes evil: and by the end of the film he’s looking like a dead cert for consort of Catherine Tate’s Evil Stella.

To persuade him, Stella says he will have a great time: because he gets to press lots of buttons.

The film is privy to Ten Heart’s thought bubble , where he sits with manic joy, in the cockpit of the baddie spaceship, pressing buttons. As he does so, he mutters “Presspresspresspresspresspress…” ad infinitum. There is a dangerous light in his eye.

This, for a male, really is a pull far greater than Stella’s evil charms. Pressing buttons all day wins it for Felix.

Today we found ourselves with an impromptu dinner to prepare with all speed, and a trip to the supermarket was in order. Felix and The Supermarket have a healthy suspicion of each other. There is one bribe which will usually tempt him along, though: buttons. He is bequeathed my iPhone on short-term loan, and times our visit.

To add a little spice we negotiate a time to get from the entrance to the checkout. Today it was generous: ten minutes.

He monitored our progress with his usual officious gusto, and I was not short of advice and frequent timely reminders.

We completed our mission and he announced with a wide grin as we walked out of the shop: “I’ve done 487 laps!”

He had been active, to be sure, but I draw the line short of allowing my youngster to play Eugene Bolt round the aisles. I queried his analysis.

He explained: the iPhone stopwatch is often used by athletes, and so it has a ‘lap’ facility. If you press the lap button once, the phone records that you have done one lap.

So Felix went: presspresspresspresspresspresspresspress ad infinitum.

He passed 500 laps while we loaded up the shopping. He was delighted.

What I do not know about the male psyche is a lot.

And as if to prove my point, a Swedish gentleman has been in all our papers today with a blokish scheme which, quite literally, backfired.

Men cooking up chemicals and playing amateur alchemist are no stranger to me. I will not easily forget the day I came home to find my husband melting lead with a view to using a rubber mould ( an old cats eye with two disc-shaped indentations) to make lead coins.

The smell was horrendous and the fumes probably toxic. But my man was happy. The presspresspresspresspresspress bit of his brain- the bit that says, I wonder what will happen when: that bit was fully exercised.

Richard Handi, the 31-year-old from Angelholm, Sweden who hit the headlines today, seems to have had the same mindset.

Industriously – and one dreads to think how – he went about procuring a little recreationalย radium, americium and uranium.

And then, he attempted to split the atom in his kitchen.

This necessitated combining the ingredients and heating them thoroughly. Dismally, and perhaps predictably, he only managed to blow up his cooker.

And finally, when he should have kept stumm, he blogged about it. Presspresspresspresspresspress.

He was immediately arrested, and charged with unauthorised possession of nuclear material.

The week’s events have sent me haring towards the parenting books which advise on bringing up these puzzling, highly empirical creatures, sons. The charm of pressing a button or testing a hypothesis is heady motivation indeed for the men in my life.

I have absolutely no idea how I am going to handle the endless possibilities that will bring.


Picture source here


36 thoughts on “Presspresspresspresspress

  1. I have plucked myself off the floor after a fit of laughter! Felix is too cute! Don’t let him know that you can download a pedometer app for the phone ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Richard should have watched the movie Avatar a few more times. Maybe he would have succumbed to a “Handsoff” approach. Come to think of it…Earthlings in that movie didn’t take heed to common sense, or intuition either, as they flew to, and battled the occupants of a foreign moon eons away in attempt to get their hands on the planet/moons most precious commodity.., A priceless metal by the name of “UNobtanium”?
    Now, hmmm…I wonder what this button doesโ˜บ

    1. I’ve never seen Avatar, Paul: a terrible confession, but true. However it does beg the eternal question: they can – but should they?

      Don’t press the………too late ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. You have found us out, Kate, we are indeed mesmerized by buttons and gadgets. No better proof than to turn a male of any age loose in an old fashioned hardware store. We will look at every tool, gizmo, pipe fitting, caulk gun and don’t even let us near the nails and screws….we will have to touch every one.

    I have actually been known to do multiple ATM transactions for no other reason than to presspresspresspresspress.

    This is the future of the male species:

  4. Think yourself lucky that you have another female to negate the effect of all that testosterone. Why do you think my readers call me bonkers? I live with all men.

  5. Having three sons, now in their 30’s, I will tell you that the “presspresspresspresspress” male personality quirk continues and “matures” as they go along. Our youngest, Matt, has recently begun satisfying some of his “press lust” by brewing his own beer. He even created a label for his bottles – very impressive, and he says that the beer is very good. I myself would not know because I do not drink horse pee. I do not know why I am surprised – we gave him the kit for Christmas – but in our defense, it is the only thing he asked for – and after his wife Suddie told us it was OK (she relented – she felt their apartment was too small, but since they have moved into their house on the OBX, there is plenty of room.

    There is only one real problem with “press lust” – it results in a severe adversion to reading instructions..

    Wonderful post – I can see why it is a favorite!

      1. With men, reading instructions is the same as asking for directions. It is a complete no-starter. They would rather drive around for hours telling you they know exactly where they are. Of course you arrive home after a few hours from a trip that should have taken 15 minutes.

        The definition of beer is mine alone. Our sons love it. Yuck! Ashley doesn’t call it horse pee because as he says, he has never tasted horse pee, so he can’t call it that. I go by color and smell. If it looks like duck and smells like a duck then it probably is. . . ๐Ÿ˜†

  6. Dear Kate,
    I, too, can see why this posting is a favorite. Felix delights me. I know that there must be days when you consider pulling out your hair in frustration, but his sense of wonder is as children say,”awesome!” And “excellent!”


  7. So true, so true! My 40-ish stepson, living in Hawaii with fewer firework restrictions than we have here In California, nearly killed himself a couple of years ago making his own “special effects” for a 4th of July celebration. Turns out it really was more like a bomb–his hearing did eventually return, but it so goes to your point! I worried a lot when my own son was growing up! I wonder what new buttons Felix will discover in his very long life! New things are always being developed and the pressing will be even more exciting, I’m sure! Debra

    1. Debra, I know it was unfortunate and I’m so glad your stepson has not had any long lasting effects, but to find someone else using explosives for their own purposes: you remind me of the day I came home to find the house full of horrendous fumes (before we had kids) because Phil was busy melting lead and setting it in rubber moulds made out of the casing for road cats-eyes.

      You couldn’t make it up, could you?

  8. A depresspresspressing thought! I think Felix is going to go through the blowing-things-up stage. Hopefully he won’t go nuclear. In my boyhood, we were content with pipe bombs and dynamite after finding thunderflashes too tame..

  9. I once dated a boy who put fireworks in the microwave to see what would happen…………….

    (Do not tell Felix. And, do not tell Phil.)

    This man turned out to be a scientist for the US Government in the area of Homeland Security…….even though he partially blew up the kitchen with that stunt………..

    1. ๐Ÿ˜€ I love the way you know Phil well enough to ward me off telling him. You are correct: while Felix might conduct a risk assessment and back off the fireworks-in-the-microwave option, Phil would try it as soon as he had the ingredients.

      It must have been a very big bang!

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