On the Edge

By Alex, November 2, 2009 1:41 pm

My dad was always on the cutting age of technology. I don’t know if I just didn’t inherit that gene or if Dad scared it out of me, but since anything I have to plug in or turn on scares the hell out of me, I’m positive it’s missing. Out of desperation to get out of the kitchen for my allotted one-hour a day and a very healthy cheap gene I make an exception for my Kitchen-Aid and As Seen On TV vacuum packer. However, the electric scissors Joe bought for me with sympathy for my arthritis, stay on the charger, as I know I will take a finger off.

I was about 12 years old the day Dad lugged home a “personal computer”, a Radio Shack TRS 80, with floppy disks and books on programming. For those of you who are to young to have had the pleasure you can visit this convenient home torture device at the Boston Computer Museum. It wasn’t long until he had “taught” the computer to play chess and Alien Attack and my little brother jumped on that bandwagon. As far as I was concerned, the loony bin could have them both; but before I could dial the men in white coats to drag them off (rotary phone) Dad found out that I needed to type an eighth grade thesis paper. He programmed a typing tutor for me, and enthused about the convenience of word processing. After learning to type (not really, I still look at my fingers) I labored over a twelve page paper on the evolution of the Protestant church. Hours in and only a paragraph from success, the TRS 80 “burped” (I swear that’s what he called it) and swallowed my thesis.

It took me almost 30 years and more of Dad’s misdirected enthusiasm to touch a computer that wasn’t a job requirement. He donated a brand new contraption, now labeled a Gateway. I got enough of a tutorial to email my parents. Dad promptly returned to his home 800 miles away and left me alone with a 10-year-old computer geek. Adrian contributed online pornography to my education, my brother taught me parental controls.

Then there’s Dani. She’s has dedicated our 20 plus years of friendship to figuring out just exactly what I will not to and just exactly how to get me to do it. She tutored me on digital cameras and uploading photographs. That project involved 3 hours on the phone, the Internet, and a USB cable. For once in my computer experience I had found a USE for the whole plugged in mess. No kid picture was to trivial to harass my friends and family with until that yahoo from Yahoo!. Some kid, who probably wasn’t even alive to learn from the Coca-Cola debacle, “new and improved” the photo upload tool. My first instinct was to click the “No thanks, I don’t have the energy to figure it out” button, but shockingly, that wasn’t an option. Now the best they could do was, “Upload failed see below for details”. Below I found, “Upload failed for unknown reason(s)”. Having used the new and unable to locate the improved, I hung up my USB cable and unplugged again.

So here I sit blogging. As usual when I am convinced the whole world has lost their minds I find out I am the one with the issues. So here is to my “little” brother Jeff. I had to put up with more than one “your old” joke but he set this blog up for my birthday and harassed me until I plugged back in. You were right Jeff, I am having a blast with this, but you still smell. Here’s to Kristin, my sister-in-law and brother’s co-conspirator, who gives me tips and answers my questions. I have a few more for you, but I haven’t finished my Blogs for Dummies assignment yet. I’ll call you when I figure out how to ask them. Thanks to Dani, who laughs so hard she shoots beverages out her nose in a spectacular way that contributes to my delinquency. My appreciation goes to everyone who actually reads this insanity and is kind enough to use the euphemism “funny”. Dad, I am finally on the edge with you. Please don’t call the men in white coats.

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