Somewhere along the line I should have learned the lesson that trying to drag my parents into the 20th century by introducing them to the world of computer was going to be a bad idea….a very bad idea.
My parents were already in their 70’s when I introduced them to the world of computers. I bought my father a desk-top one year as a gift and thought it would be a fairly easy task to teach them both how to use it. How wrong I was. After setting it up and making sure everything worked I sat my father down and began teaching him. He was so excited, so much so that I soon realized that I may have to put the mouse on turbo boost. He may not have been to fast on his feet but that “clicker finger” of his traveled at the speed of light. He couldn’t wait for a page to open or scroll and looking at more than one thing became a challenge quickly. Click…Click…Click…until the whole computer said…ENOUGH…and locked up.
So to save my sanity, his finger and that mouse, I set up an e-mail account for him thinking that this simple task would keep him busy for hours. It took me about 2 hours to explain how to write, send and read E-mail. I printed out a list of Do’s and Don’ts and taped it to the top of his desk and hoped for the best. I mean the man had spent 20 years as a Navy Yeoman typing for a living.
It took a few days but I soon was getting mail from Dad. I had to laugh pretty hard because clearly he had not remembered the “spell check” feature so reading his letters was like decoding something in pig latin most of the time, but I soon learned to speak Dad language.
It was a few weeks later that I got a phone call to asking me to call the house please because Dad needed help with the computer. I made the call and explained to him how to add people to his mailing list so that he could now keep in touch not only with the family but friends as well. Yeah…we were off to a good start here.
Then it happened….
Most of Dad’s friends were his age and also fairly new to the computer world. This meant that they really didn’t have much of an understanding about how easy it was to share viruses along with the stories they were sending each other. The typical method they used was to just click forward and send it on its way to EVERYONE THEY KNEW! Needless to say, it didn’t take long before they all had some nasty bug, clogging things up and slowing everyone down.
Now if you think teaching him how to write e-mail was fun, you should have been there to see the adventure of teaching him how to find, and remove a virus via the phone! Your welcome ATT for my keeping you in the black, btw. After many conversations I finally just called my nephew and sent him to the house to fix it! I then made sure there was a large sign placed on the wall that read…
DO NO FORWARD MAIL…COPY, PASTE AND SEND AS NEW!
Ctrl+C to COPY
Ctrl+V to PASTE
I wish I could tell you that solved the problem but I forgot that he was mouse obsessed and never looked up from the screen. My Mother who had yet to give the computer a try, used to just roll her eyes, and mumble under her breath…click…click…click…thats all you know how to do.
Now, Mom didn’t make things any easier. She got the bright idea to have Dad print mailing labels for her Christmas cards one year so she didn’t have to do them all by hand. He started in June and by December first had successfully printed one, and forgot spell check yet again. She was not pleased so when we arrived for the holiday, I sat down and created the list for her and showed him how to print it. 5 times I created that list because he kept deleting it. I finally just put it on my computer so I could send it when needed.
After a year or two of e-mail adventures, my Mom signed him up for a computer class for Seniors at the Rec Center in town. I think that was the same year we bought him “computers for Seniors” published by the “for dummies” people. He went to maybe 4 classes and thought he had learned enough. He was now ready to surf the web. It took all of 5 minutes and my Mom was tearing up the phone lines!
OMG…I remember that phone call!
I picked up the phone and all I heard was my Mom yelling….THERE ARE NAKED PEOPLE, THERE ARE NAKED PEOPLE AND THEY ARE DOING STUFF!!!! HERB….just click that red X!
The conversation with my mother went something like this….
Mom….Mom…MOM!!! What?… Where are the naked people?… On your fathers computer! giggle… Ok, why are they on his computer?… How do I know?… I asked him to find a recipe for something and I don’t know what he did…but now we have NAKED PEOPLE! Herb…I told you to stop clicking that damn mouse button!… Do something!… Mom, calm down, its ok…No it’s not, they take people to jail for this kind of thing…Herb click that X!! … Mom, Dad isn’t going to jail, trust me…I told you this computer was a bad idea….Ok, Mom just tell Daddy to close out of all the windows he has open….Herb, did you hear your daughter? Close all the open windows….Ok, now what?…Just tell Dad not to surf the web anymore!
I didn’t know if I should laugh or just hang up.