My Dad Finallly Came Into the 21st Century.... Almost

May 9, 2014 

It happened. I figured world peace would happen first. But two months ago, my dad finally bought a laptop. He is now only a debit card away from fully joining the digital world. Although, technically, his phone is not smart, it is capable of taking pictures and accessing the Internet if he chooses to figure out how to do either one. So, it counts! My dad can now officially discover all the wondrous joys of the World Wide Web – otherwise known as 95% of my social life.

Of course, now that he has a laptop, I now have higher blood pressure. As someone who routinely uses a computer 15 hours a day, it’s like breathing for me. It’s hard to understand how someone doesn’t automatically understand what it means when I say to “click on the Chrome icon”. I’m sure I haven’t had to explain the concept of “that little blinking thing” for the last time. He can see that he has a message in his email, but he doesn’t know how to look at it. I tell him to click on it and he asks what I mean by click on it. I’m not sure how to define “it”. By the time I open it on my computer, the message is gone. He clicked something. I’m just not sure what.

To make matters worse, I’m a “Mac” and what he bought is a “PC” (which to me, stands for Piece of Crap). For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Mac-PC rivalry, let’s just say it’s like the Jets and the Sharks in West Side Story. When I call my sister – also a “PC” – to muse over the cuteness of my dad fiddling around on a computer, it quickly turns into an ugly Mac vs. PC fight to the death. No sympathy there.

Overall, I’m proud of my patience with the whole process…so far. When I say patience, what I’m really saying is that I have successfully resisted the urge to shut the laptop with his head between it. As long as he stops ordering things, both he and the laptop should remain in one piece. Every day it occurs to him that items he couldn’t find in the real world are now available to him over the Internet. His ability to find the websites he needs is really improving. Unfortunately, his ability to complete the online order form is not. The other day, he filled in all of his payment information and then started cussing and complaining that the page kept disappearing. After the third attempt, he made it to the payment page, but got stuck. Basically there was ten minutes of “click-click-click-heavy sigh-click-sigh-expletive-click-sigh-expletive-click-click. After a brief moment of silence, I dared to dream that he got it to work. Then it was back to click-sigh-expletive-click (not necessarily in that order – I’m paraphrasing for brevity). I was doing my best to maintain a state of Zen all the while. But I have my limits. Once the machine gun rapid-fire mouse clicking began, that was all I could take. The page was not stuck; it was just wanting his email. The big, maroon box with the arrow pointing to the empty email box with the message “your email is required” didn’t seem to catch his attention. He felt there was no reason to ask for his email, so he ignored it.

Facebook is off limits, but I’m perfectly comfortable with steering him to YouTube™. I’m hopeful that once he gets comfortable searching for his favorite hillbilly-tear-in-your-beer-sung-by-someone-named-Hank-Country Music, he’ll get tired of ordering things. I don’t need him setting up accounts all over the Internet. I have enough trouble keeping my 87 passwords straight. But I can’t get too upset since I’m the one who’s been mocking him for not having a computer like normal people. Now all I have left to do is figure out how to get him to give up his checkbook and his electric typewriter.

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