Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Fun With Dad on "The Machine"

Every few weeks my father calls for help with something on the computer, which he calls "the machine." It's a great exercise in communication for me, because I have to figure out how to break the task down to its most basic components for someone with a high IQ but no technical vocabulary ...

DAD: I want to, um ... I mean there's a website and I want to email someone ... how do I ...

ME: You want to send someone a link?

DAD: Yes! That's right. I want to send someone a link.

ME: Okay, open to the web page.

DAD: What web page?

ME: The one you want to send a link to.

DAD: Do I need to close the email?

ME: No. You can minimize it if you want. Just open another window. (I know he uses IE and doesn't use tabs. I can't begin to get into that lesson with him.)

DAD: Okay. Give me a minute.



ME: Dad?

DAD: Just a minute.

ME: Take your time.




ME: Dad?

DAD: Almost got it.



DAD: Okay, I got the web page. Now what?

ME: You know that bar at the top where you see the website address? Put your cursor in there and click once.

DAD: Okay.

ME: Is it highlighted?

DAD: Is it what?

ME: Did it turn blue?

DAD: (Excited) Yes!

ME: Okay, hold the control key and hit the letter C.

DAD: Is the control key that one on the bottom?

ME: Yes.

DAD: Is it the one that says Alt?

ME: No, it's the one that says Control.

DAD: Um ... where is it?

ME: Keep looking.



DAD: I found it.

ME: Good. Now open your email again.

DAD: Oh my god! Where did it go? It's gone! Good lord!!

ME: Don't panic. It's not gone. It's probably right behind the page you're on.

So I walked him through minimizing the page, opening his email, and using CONTROL-V to paste in the url.

DAD: Control C?

ME: No, this time you have to hit control V as in Victor.

DAD: V is the hardest letter to find.

ME: I'll wait.

At his point he screwed up and lost what was in his clipboard. So we had to start all over again. When we finally accomplished this simple task he exclaimed that it was like a miracle, and the first time he ever used the control key.

ME: No it's not, Dad. I walked you through this same thing at least half a dozen times before.

DAD: But I don't remember, so it's LIKE I never used it before.

Lest you think my dad is an imbecile, know that he probably has a better and deeper grasp of more topics than the next ten most intelligent people I know. (I challenge you to come up with a question about WWII he can't answer off the top of his head.) It just goes to prove what I've always believed ... we're all ignorant, just about different things.


sandra said...

Ha! Enjoyed this so much. Can't you just get your kids to give them lessons?

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

There's just a certai age cut off, in general, where computers don't fit into the mental scheme of the person. My husband's boss is 72 and he repeats a lesson similar to yours several times a day!!

Mitzi said...

Oh this is sad and funny and frustrating - all at the same time! I have to do this stuff with my mom all the time. But! I feel like your dad (and my mom) sometimes with *new* techno-gizmos, you know, like facebook, my iphone. Sad, I know.

Don Capone said...

"V is the hardest letter to find."