Thursday, February 25, 2010

Of Course I Don't Know What I'm Talking About

My mother, to whom I am devoted, phoned me recently with an urgent computer problem. It was Valentine's Day and I was in the Big City. As she explained what was happening and I tried, in vain, to walk her through a fix from the shoe aisles at T.J. Maxx, I realized that the best thing to do was fork the phone over to The Boyfriend and let him deal with this.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a parent with a computer problem is in want of someone other than their child (regardless of expertise in this area) to fix it.

The Boyfriend listened carefully to the problem, politely repeated what I had just told her, and hung up. A couple of hours later, I called her back to see if the computer was working. Of course, The Boyfriend got all of the credit. I turned to him after I hung up and said, "Clearly a case of PEBCAC." (Problem Exists Between Computer And Chair) Telling my mother to shut down and reboot usually fixes most of what's ailing her aging Dell desktop, it's just that when *I* say it, I don't know what I'm talking about.

I learned this little parental loophole years ago when my mother got her first computer and it's been pretty much the order of the day ever since.

Another recent computer emergency involved the death of Mom's wireless mouse. As many times as I've explained that she has to either turn it off or replace the USB antenna in the bottom to keep the battery from running down, she doesn't pay much attention. (After all, I'm her daughter and what the *bleep* do I know?) I drove sixty miles to their house, brought the mouse to her, cracked it open, put in a new battery, closed it up, and wow, suddenly it was working again. The expression on her face was on the order of my having just invented the wheel or discovered fire.

Unfortunately, the original situation also included a problem with her laptop that I have yet to figure out. That one may actually be software-related and she may have accidentally foxed the router. Tactfully explaining that the relative slowness of the laptop is probably due to the fact that it's pulling signal from the neighbors' router rather than her own results in the "dog hearing a high-pitched sound" expression. I told her not to worry about that one and I'll deal with it the next time I'm home. As long as the desktop is working, I'm not driving sixty miles to do a battery pull on her laptop.

I suppose I should be thankful that Dad doesn't even try to weigh in on computer-related topics. He won't go near one. He believes computers are of the debbil, although we went a couple of rounds over the purchase of Mom's laptop. That concluded with my demanding his credit card and shooing him out of the room. Dealing with one of them over technoliteracy is about all I can stand.

1 comment:

improvislaw said...

Oh how true, how true.