I was very mean to my mother. When I was 17, we got a new IBM Selectric typewriter with automatic corrections and I gleefully threw the little bottle of White-Out away. We also got a VCR (Video Cassette Recorder) and I smugly taped all my favorite shows, getting frustrated that she couldn’t learn how everything worked when I explained it all. My mother stood by watching helplessly from that day on; incompetent to type without her old manual typewriter and unable to watch her Days of Our Lives soap opera with the complex remote controls. But she had a prophecy:
One day when new inventions come out, you’ll have a child who is impatient with you. And I’ll just call you up and laugh. And laugh.
Today is that day. I have a used Mac. Someone gave it to me. In my world, Mac is an expensive brand of cosmetics, a Big fast-food hamburger or a really cranky cab driver. Apparently it is also a different kind of computer. Not only do I have this confusing Mac, but I also have three sons away at college who are technologically gifted. Listen to the following phone call.
Youngest Son – – Mom, we’ve been at this for over an hour. I have to get to class. There are professionals who will come to your house and help you. But I’m not “The Geek Squad.”
Me – – Yeah, you’re more like “The Bleak Squad.” If you could just explain it one last time – – I promise I’ll get it. All I want to do is write a post on my blog. Please?? So at the bottom left of my screen, I double click the thing with the little thingy and the funny blue face, right?
Youngest Son – – (long pause) The thing with the little thingy. Yeeeeaaah. Listen, what is your ultimate goal here? To share your humor, right? Have you ever considered doing stand-up comedy?
I offer him my homemade lasagne if he’ll just come to the house and help me get things set up. He asks if it’s the same recipe he remembers from living at home? After I confirm it is, he tells me we have a bad connection, but he thinks his brother might be hungry.
In the time it takes me to search for my middle son’s number in my contacts list and refresh my memory with how to use Skype, his brother has already sent him a “Mom’s on the loose with her new Mac!” warning text.
Middle Son – – Hello Mom. I Already ate. The thing with the Blue Face is called Your Finder. That’s like your old “Start Up.” But you have a great stage presence. You could do a funny helpless routine that would make Jerry Seinfeld jealous. Gotta go.
Me – – Okay, Just tell me one thing. When I click on the cute little fruit with the bite taken out of it on the upper left corner and there’s a “Sleep” option, will that help with my insomnia?
Middle Son – – Click.
I explore on my own and manage to figure out that I’m now in a Garage Band and I already have a reputation for being a “Quick Time Player.” I have a fear of tigers, so I don’t even think about clicking on “Safari.”
But I’m certain that my firstborn child won’t let me down.
Oldest Son – – No! Didn’t you hear me?? You cannot press, “Control, Alt, Delete” anymore!
Me – – So how do I stop that pretty iridescent disk from just spinning around and around??
Oldest Son – – Think of it like your old hourglass. You just have to wait patiently.
Me – – Well, can I still “Escape?’
Oldest Son – – (Sigh) Yes. Yes, you can Mom. But unfortunately it’s too late for me to.
While the intelligent child that I taught to read (once upon a time ago) gets more and more sarcastic with me (and I get no help whatsoever) I receive a text from my mother, now 71 years old.
My three sons must’ve taught her how to type “LOL”. Because that’s all it says. Again and again – – as the Elton John song from the Lion King movie loudly blares from my cellphone, “The Circle of Life!” Touché.