Humor Blog Highlights

Getting Gramps Online

One day as I was typing on my computer, I noticed my father watching me with a troubled look on his face. Finally he said, “A computer is really just a sophisticated typewriter, isn’t it?”

“Well, it’s not really a typewriter Dad, because it can do much more than a typewriter such as store information, produce graphics and make fax and modem connections.”

“But it has a keyboard like a typewriter,” he said. “Yes,” I agreed.

“And you can type letters on it,” he said.

“Yes,” I sighed and agreed.

“So, it’s just a sophisticated typewriter,” he concluded.

“Right,” I finally agreed because, you know, parents are always right.

That’s the difference between my generation and the older generation. The older generation always has to compare something they don’t understand to something they do understand. Not my generation. You tell me that extraterrestrial lymph nodes just arrived from planetary red shift spectra and I say, “Sure.” I don’t have to compare them to my own lymph nodes to get a sense of what it means. Nor do I care about how they managed to travel outside of their red shift spectra.

But parents insist on actually understanding things. It’s not enough for them to know that the computer can store information. They want to know how the computer stores information and how the computer manages to do a million more things a million more times efficiently than they can, even though they’re PARENTS!

My father admits he has a fear of computers which he calls “creative destruction.” Put more simply, this is the fear that the computer is going to suddenly explode. I suspect that many parents fear the personal computer in their house more than they fear an armed intruder. In fact, my father would welcome an intruder as long as the intruder would steal the computer:

“Stop Thief! Take this computer with you or I’ll shoot!”

My father just bought a new computer and although I had been giving him lessons every day, he’s still afraid of it. I’m probably not a very good teacher. Maybe he should learn from someone older who can teach him in a more grandfatherly fashion.

My father also needs a more grandfather-friendly computer manual. I’m not talking about “Computers for Dummies.” I think we need a manual called, “Computers for Grandparents.” A manual that would be a little more sympathetic.

The introduction of such a manual would lament the death of the typewriter and recall classic writers like Hemmingway and Dickens who wrote their manuscripts out in long hand on lined paper. The chapters would be as follows:

Chapter 1: Let’s just talk about computers, not actually use them
Chapter 2: You–the victim of technology
Chapter 3: You–the victim of technology
Chapter 4: Technology–It’s not your fault
Chapter 5: If you don’t understand it, don’t use it
Chapter 5: The world has changed but we don’t have to admit it
Chapter 6: You have arthritis, you have osteoporosis, do you really need carpal tunnel syndrome?
Chapter 7: Other nasty diseases you can avoid by avoiding computers
Chapter 8: Let’s just learn email and forget the rest

My father gave a concerted effort but eventually tried to give his computer to me.

“But, it’s brand new!” I said.

“It’s really more than I need,” he said.

“But Dad, you want to be able to send email don’t you? You said you want to learn to use the Internet, right?” I could feel his frustration.

“Just be patient,” I told him. “In another week I’ll have a really nice computer manual written up just for you.”

I’m happy to report that my father has become quite good at email. Recently, my mother has been saying, “I guess I’m just going to have to learn to use that thing.”

When my father offered to teach her she said, “Well, a computer is really just a sophisticated typewriter, isn’t it?”

Copyright 2003 Amy Chavez

About Amy Chavez (2 Posts from 2002 - 2003)
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