Joe is standing on a street corner. He is staring at the “Don’t Walk” light, waiting to cross.
Kevin approaches the corner, looks at the traffic light, then at the push-button crossing-light control, then at Joe. Kevin thinks that if he pushes the button himself, he will be expressing mistrust for Joe, whom he should have trusted to have pushed the button before Kevin’s arrival.
World-1: Both stand at the corner forever, because neither has pushed the button.
World-2: Kevin looks at Joe and asks, “Did you push the button?” and Joe answers either,
2.1 “Yeah, sure – think I’m some kind of idiot who don’t know to push the damn button?” or
2.2 “What button?”
To Joe’s possible remarks, Kevin will respond:
2.1.1 To “Think I’m an idiot?” Kevin will reply “Yes, I did think you might be an idiot, but I was wrong; you’re an asshole,” or
2.2.1 To “What button?” Kevin will say “That button right over there, on the pole; the silvery button on the little yellow box.”
126.96.36.199 To which Joe will respond with “Well, then, did you push the button?” leading to an infinite regress of World-2 in which no streets are crossed.
World-3: Kevin and Joe give up trying to cross the street and have a beer. Each confesses his inability to make the damn buttons work half the time, their common dread that strangers will think they must not have pushed the button, since the “walk” light never seems to come on, or does so only after the insufferably long interval programmed by traffic engineers who all drive cars and never walk anywhere.
World-4: Kevin and Joe have a confrontation leading to bloodstains. Both are taken away in a patrol car that runs red lights and scares the bejeesus out of pedestrians trying to cross the street.
World-5: The button has been pushed, and both cross the street successfully. Joe thinks Kevin pushed the button, and Kevin thinks Joe pushed the button, but in fact the button has pushed itself. It does this frequently and finds the experience highly pleasurable.