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Juice > Juice

Button, Button, Who's got the Button?


Like all the best good fortune, it just fell out of the sky.

Just in case you usually do the same thing I do, see the words "U.S. Military" and flip straight from the front page to the Weird News section, Iíll fill you in.

During a training mission from Arizona to Colorado on April 2, Capt. Craig David Button broke away from a three-man flight formation in his A-10 Thunderbolt, which was carrying four bombs, with only five minutes of fuel remaining. After intensive searches the military could find no sign of the plane or the pilot, although now they think they may have found it in the Colorado mountains. At press time, they werenít exactly sure. Being Colorado, itís still snowing, and too treacherous to look too close.

This isnít the first three minutes of a "Sliders" episode, itís a real story about a plane vanishing from the big western sky. It could have been the biggest story since Christopher Columbus came back and said, "Wait, thereís more."

There were more than a few theories about what happened to Capt. Button. One is that one of his wingmen probably radioed for "Capt. Buttmunch" and laughed once too often and he just ran off, blubbering in mystification, why, why were they always picking on him? (my theory). Then there was the theory that he stole the plane to sell the bombs. If I stole a pack of Lifesavers, the gomers at the Winn-Dixie would catch me. Itís hard to believe the military could let a pilot walk away with an entire plane in his pocket.

Stealth bomber

Then there was the theory that he stole the plane and would drop those bombs in recognition of the April 19 anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. That is ridiculous. Second anniversary is paper or clocks or something, it isnít bombs, ask Hallmark.

Taking all this into account, and I know itís a lot, what with your concern about the Daytime Emmies, itís obvious what happened. At least I know what I would have liked to see happen. I would have liked to know that Capt. Button was snatched up by a UFO.

"You may call it nonsense if you like," the Queen said to Alice. "But Iíve heard nonsense compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary."

Capture by a UFO is a less nonsensical thing to believe than believing that the military could not find its own plane. They have spy satellites that can travel to Mars and tell by the color of your fillings how much coffee you drank today. They could find every piece of a DC-10 that exploded, rebuild the Titanic sunk for decades, find three dollars in tips that you didnít declare on your taxes in 1983, but they canít find an entire plane? If a plane exploded, I could even find it. "See that smoke over there? That thereís yer plane," Iíd say, collect my hefty consultantís fee and be off.

But consider where the plane disappeared. Just after flying over New Mexico. If it happened over Seattle, weíd think the plane just got depressed and did itself in. If it happened over the Everglades, weíd guess the military was buying its $9 million aircraft at a Valu-Jet everything-must-go sale. But New Mexico? Where Roswell is located? Area 51? Huh? Huh? I hate to go off on a Chris Carterian tangent, but there are things you think youíre right about even though you have no proof. Add up enough coinkidinks and what you have is a fact.

Take me!

And anyway, what would be the big deal if, in the headlines tomorrow, it said "U.S. AIRCRAFT INTERCEPTED BY UFO." There wouldnít be any 1950ís-space-movie style national panic, no one on the local news grabbing their face and screaming in that Edvard Munch/"Home Alone" manner. Everyone who really hated their jobs would migrate to New Mexico. Everyone else would just watch TV to see what happens next, which is exactly what we all do now. There could be aliens walking around right this minute and you wouldnít even know it. As one reader from the far north wrote about the classic egg-headed, egg-eyed alien, "Everyone here looks like that. Weíre so pale we could make Casper look like a mulatto."

So, there are two things we could believe about Capt. Buttonís Excellent Adventure. One, that he got dragged off course by UFOs. Itís the more fun explanation and after all, UFOs arenít like Santa or Jesus. They do not show up only if you believe. They either exist or they donít and what you think about it is completely immaterial, perfectly harmless and usually lots of fun to speculate about.

Or you could believe that the military, with all that money, power and technology at its disposal, couldnít locate one pilot, its own pilot, on its own turf, and the plane that went with him. To think that, youíd also have to believe they couldnít find their butt with two mirrors.

Personally, Iíd rather believe the pleasant and highly unlikely over the likely and highly unpleasant. Itís up to you to decide which explanation is more out of this world.

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