I believe we have all heard the fairy tail of the princess kissing the frog and it turned into a prince. Let’s make a small change in this story for the benefit of this post. My wife touches anything electronic and it turns into shit. Not near as romantic but accurate.
My wife is a very smart person, and I’ve always been very proud of her. Though now retired, she was the executive secretary to the president of one of the largest labor unions in the United States. When it comes to the hundreds of secretaries employed through the national offices, she was the top dog. The pressures and responsibilities she handled absolutely astounded me. Her job required her to be immensely intelligent, resourceful, patient, always friendly no matter what the consequence, and, most importantly, discreet. But when it comes to electronic devices her IQ doesn’t make it to the left side of the decimal point.
Though she did much of her work through an office computer, the computer programs had to have always guided her. At home her patience with her lap top is about as thick as a spider’s web. And she is always calling for my help. Most often I take one look at the screen and say in bewilderment, “How did you get that?”
And, of course, she’ll always say, “I don’t know. It worked last time, and I know I pushed the same keys.”
Obviously, that makes no sense whatsoever. I don’t care what type of electronic equipment being operated, one does not push the same buttons, in the same sequence and come up with two different outcomes. Of course, this is the same person who took me on a three hour tour of a road she was sure was the right one. Not wanting to admit she was wrong, she said, “That tree wasn’t there last time I was here.” Judging by the girth of the tree, it would be safe to say the tree took seed sometime before the Civil War. Anyway, getting back to the computer, I don’t say anything, being quite content not having my ear ripped off and handed to me. Years of marriage has taught me a few things. So I quite patiently say, “Let me give it a try.” I will then bring her to the site she was looking for. Or, in some extreme cases where she’s totally typed herself into Cyber space, simply reboot the computer. And then she will say, “That’s the exact same keys I pushed.” Yeah, right! Obviously the computer company has a personal vendetta against you and has electronically program its hard drive to do whatever is required to make your computer experience as unpleasant as possible. Once again, keeping this thought to myself.
The same thing happens when she gets her hands on the remote control for the entertainment system. Like most folks, we have multiple extra components wired to our television; vcr/dvd, cable box, Wii, and a satalite box. To do away with four different remotes, I purchased a universal remote. I believed this would make everything much simpler. I know it did for me. After patiently explaining how each function operates, I gave it to her to use, coaching her whenever she needed help. And she always needed help. That was three years ago, and she is still hasn’t went solo past operating the television. The rest of the components remain to this day a foreign language. Like all other electronic devices, she just can’t wrap her brain around their operations.
And we now have a new challenge. We just purchased a new car. It came equipped with both a remote cell phone and navigation system with voice activation. I believed the voice activated commands would finally make electronics simple for her. At least while driving. One simply pushes the button for GPS or Cellphone, then speak the address to be found or name to be called. Can’t get simpler than that. Wrong! More than once I’ve heard her out in the car screaming commands into the GPS like a airline pilot whose 747 has just went into a vertical dive. Finally ending with her pleading with the car’s command system as if its a human being. “I just want to go to my doctor!” Yep, I’m quite sure the navigation system will pick right up on that one! Then comes the cell phone remote. “Please call my daughter, Terri.” I’m surprised she didn’t add, “I want to ask her what time she would like to meet for lunch.” She just doesn’t get the concept one can’t add extra words to a command. “Call Terri.” Nothing more, nothing less.
I have not a doubt in my mind that if I were to kick the bucket tomorrow, she never again would use our computers, watch anything outside of the television, or do nothing more than drive the car. Any attempts at touching anything else would just turn into shit. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining, The bright side being she has at least one good reason to keep me around. And when it comes to reasons, her finding good ones are hard to come by.