I'd like to think I'm pretty proficient with computers. I have a bachelors degree in IT. I worked as a system admin for almost 10 years before leaving to pursue writing. I like to build gaming machines. And yet... none of this has prepared me for teaching my parents how to use the Internet.
My parents are wonderful people, but it's amazing to me how foreign a computer is to them, even after using one in one form or another for almost 15 years now. Even the simplest things that you and I take for granted are like a whole new world to them.
I'm not sure if this is karma for my teenage years, but teaching a parent how to use a computer is like teaching a dog to ride a bicycle. It can be both frustrating and hilarious, because the outcome is almost always catastrophic.
Like my dad, for example, who has an amazing talent. He can bring a computer to its knees by attempting the simplest of tasks.
|My dad was a complete badass in his youth, so he's totally earned the right to rock the wolf-face T-shirt, fanny pack, and jean shorts that are just a tad too short.|
|Point out everything that's wrong with this screenshot. I dare you.|
At this point, the only thing left to do is burn the computer and douse anything that touched it in holy water. Most computers need a virus scan, but after my dad gets his hands on one, it needs an exorcism. If I had a dollar for every time I had to reinstall my parents' operating system or buy them another hard drive, I'd have enough money to open my own personal Geek Squad store.
But it's not just the Internet. My parents also don't understand a lot of the e-mails they get. Like spam. Which, let me tell you, is really hilarious when my mom is logging onto her e-mail to check if her sister, Anna, wrote to her, and she sees something like this...
Which in turn led to a very confusing and very hilarious call, that went something like this...
If you want to experience true awkwardness, just try to explain hardcore lesbian porn spam to your mother, while also trying to explain that sometimes spam bots use generic names like "Anna" that are just a hilariously terrible coincidence.*
*This really happened, and was every bit as awkward as you can imagine
Don't get me wrong. My parents are wonderful people, and I love them both very much. I find this funny more than I find it frustrating, but knowing that my relatives on both sides live to very, very old age (my grandma just turned 90 and her sister recently turned 101), I chuckle every time my mom calls to tell me about how she broke the Internet, because I know this is a tech support line I'll be running for the next 30 years or more.
Cheers and stay classy, friends,
Bryan (and Brandon)
Music: Sigur Ros
Beer: Sawtooth Ale