Thursday, July 14, 2005

Kids need their parents forever

If you read this blog and don’t read Hamel’s, you’re missing a good thing.

I try to keep my writing style grammatical with some good vocabulary words from time to time. I also try to throw in some humor and a casual, conversational feel. Hamel just writes well.

Check out his poignant recent post entitled “Fear and Trembling.” In it he discusses his desire to keep his young sons at a place where they feel they need him. If that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye or otherwise evoke emotions, then… Well, it will.

That said; I want to tell you about a phone call I received last night. It was Christina. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that’s my older daughter whose real first name is Joy, and who recently moved to Florida with her husband and their son—my only grandchild.

(She’ll kill me when she reads this, but it’s not intended to ridicule.)

“Dad, I’m having computer problems. Can you help?”

“Maybe. I’ll try. Whatcha got?”

“I hooked up the computer and printer and everything, and I’m trying to print 4 documents but they won’t print.”

“Well, what happens when you select ‘print’ and hit ‘OK’?”

NOTHING happens.”

“Is the printer turned on?”

“Da-a-ad! DUH! Of course the printer’s turned on.” (Then, in a patronizing tone) “And yes, it’s plugged in. There’s a little green light on the front that tells me it’s got power.”

“OK. I hate to ask dumb questions, but is the cable between the computer and the printer plugged in right?”

(Exasperation) “Yeeees. But I’ll check it again.” (Sounds of things being bumped and moved in the background while she keeps talking) “I clicked on this little printer icon on my screen, and then went through this HORRIBLE ‘troubleshooter’ routine that had me try everything you can imagine, but nothing did any good, and then… Wait. Something’s happening… OMIGOSH! The printer is spewing out paper fast. But it’s not printing anything… Wait, now it’s printing something.”

(There’s a slight pause before she continues) “I wiggled the end of the cable that’s plugged into the printer and it felt like it went in farther. Now it’s printing pages with nothing on them but three lines of… Question marks? Yeah, just nothing but question marks. What is this all about? Is it ever going to stop?”

Stifling laughter, I told her to turn off the printer power switch before she wastes any more paper or ink. When it stops, she asked me, “Why was it just printing question marks.”

I couldn’t resist, so I told her, “Well, obviously it didn’t know what you wanted it to do so it was trying to ask you.”

Then I explained that probably when she went through each of those troubleshooting steps the program tried to get the printer to print a test page of some sort, and it was now trying to respond to all of those stored commands.

I had her clear her print queue before turning the printer back on. Everything now worked perfectly.

(Joy, I’m NOT making fun of you! Anybody could have plugged in that cable and not pushed it together quite hard enough.)

So even thought my daughters are in their 30 (plus or minus), they still call Mom and Dad for advice, help, and just general support from time to time.

And Hamel’s right; it does feel nice.

(Joy, call again ANY time. Please! I mean it.)


Anonymous said...

"Kids need their parents forever" and my brother needs me. I cannot tell you how many times I have told him how to unzip a file and drag and drop it into the right folder!

Congrats for passing 6000 hits.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the compliments. Wow, my heart skipped a beat as I read the intro to your post.

That said, what I wouldn't give to know that when my boys are in their 30's or thereabouts, they'll still call me to ask questions like this. You did something right (actually, alot of things right) to have a child who both trusts you and loves you enough to, out of all the people in the world, call you for help.

Thanks again.

Karyn Lyndon said...

It's scary when you see your name/link in one of the Duke's blog posts, isn't it, Hamel? It can always go either way.

You must be some kind of technology genius, John, because I've asked you for computer advice and we're not even related.

Or maybe it's your "dog with a rag" tenacity to find the answer and help someone. (Uh oh, there goes that head again. I can see the shadow of it all the way in Dallas as it expands.)

Robin said...

I still ask my dad for help. It feels good from this end too! :)

Duke_of_Earle said...

Uh, Karyn? "Dog with a rag?? I always thought it was, "dog with a bone."

And yeah, it takes a real technology genius to ask, "Is it plugged in?"

But thanks anyway for the, uh, comment. I think. Hmmm. "...the shadow of it all the way to Dallas..."

I'm not sure where that might be leading (considering that TOMORROW'S FRIDAY!)

You can count on me visiting your blog in the morning to find out!

the many Bs said...

There once was an author who wrote a limerick,
He said he couldn't do it, but he made it stick,
His book was a hit,
He wrote a sequel to it,
And his limerick was really bad.

(See, I can't write one either - I just fake it!) :-))))

the many Bs said...

I told Hamel, and I'll also tell you that I still run home to my dad for comfort and he's in another state. I'm 52 and he's 85 and I will always be his little girl. I ran home to daddy just last October when my puppy (Bijou) died). He always knows just the right things to say.