14
Jun
09

Click

(First published in May 2009)

Mouse clicks. Keyboard clicks. On/off toggle switch clicks. Door lock clicks. Light switch clicks. What do they all have in common aside from the clicks? Notice that virtually everything that makes a clicking sound has a spring in it.

That’s right. Springs. Come on. Think of anything that clicks but doesn’t have springs. (Not so fast. Insects like certain beetles that make a clicking sound have some sort of “organic spring” in their structure.)

The closest I can think of is not actually a device but the act of clicking your heels together, like a tap dancer. But calling that “clicking” is actually more because of the usage of the word, as “clicking” your heels does not actually make a real clicking sound. Moreover, I think that that usage of the word was popularized only after the spring was invented, and probably by some slightly hearing-impaired writer, typing away something like “Ghaqli clicked his heels to summon his horse because his mouth was full”.

I think that what we normally describe as a clicking sound is actually made up of two sounds (I was tempted to say two “clicks” but that would defeat my point). Try clicking your mouse and listen closely. Notice that there are two sounds – one when you press the mouse button and another when you release it. Now try tapping some of the letters on your keyboard but avoid the space bar because it will instantly take you to another portion of this blog. You get the idea, so there’s no need to try the light switch or the monitor’s on/off toggle button. That’s the real clicking sound. And that is why I don’t think it’s proper to call the act of tapping your heels together as “clicking”, unless you can do two taps very fast that they’d sound like the single click of a mouse button.

And what makes a mouse button click? The spring, of course.

Now forgive me for this next part because it’s kind of cheesy. What is it that makes two people “click”? (Now it gets cheesier.) And why is it that when they do, they get this little bounce in their steps? It’s the spring, of course. And what is it that closely resembles a spring in the human body, that which beats the double tap of a clicking sound?

I hope my cynical readers will tolerate me this cheesy piece. I’m just feeling clicked right now.

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Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues

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