It pains me to say this, but I felt something had to be done. I have to get this off my chest. I just can’t go on anymore holding this inside — bottling it up and trying to keep the cork from bursting out.
Remember, I think you’ve been an amazing parent and never did anything to hurt me (although, giving me those hot toddies when I was a kid to help my bronchitis was definitely questionable.)
So let me get this out: You cannot call me on the phone anymore to ask for help working out issues with your computer. You just can’t. I know it’s complicated stuff to grasp. But it’s killing me. It’s growing a field of gray hair in uneven patches atop my head. It’s making tense muscles in my neck snap under the strain. I blew a blood vessel in my eye the other night. I might have to seek counseling.
In short: I just can’t do it anymore.
You see, when you call me while I’m cooking dinner to tell me in that panicked voice that you’re having an emergency, I think it’s an EMERGENCY. Like you’ve fallen down a well. Like the house is on fire and you forgot how to turn on the hose faucet. Like there are armed bandits making off with your cats. Those are all emergencies. Those are the kinds of things you call your son in a panic about.
Not that you desperately need to e-mail a video of a frog to some friends, but can’t remember how to do it. See, in no shape or form of the word — not in the most liberal application — would “emergency” ever cover that. And it certainly doesn’t warrant me burning potatoes.
Trying to figure out how to get something back on the computer that you deleted does not constitute an emergency, either. Important? Yes. Emergency? No.
And just because you forgot what the e-mail “attach” button does when you’re trying to ATTACH a photo doesn’t mean you can call me at work, in the middle of the day, when I’m in a meeting.
It’s not an emergency!
I know you’re not trying to make me crazy. No one wants their child to go insane over their own computer deficiencies. And I apologize for blowing my top and screaming things like “of course you have to turn the computer on first” or “how do you manage to dress yourself in the morning?”
That’s horribly rude, and I should be more patient and less frustrated. I’m sorry, but — and it’s a big “but,” mom. Rhinoceros-sized “but” — when I say things like “OK, now click on the ‘forward’ button,” you don’t have to say to me: “So, do you want me to click on ‘forward’ now?” Why else would I have said “forward” if I didn’t mean it? This isn’t some kind of trick. It’s not code and I really want you to go outside and run through a patch of daisies. I want you to hit “forward!” (Breath, Brian, breath. I feel that blood vessel swelling again.)
When you complain about how computers are too confusing and they should make them simpler to use, I agree. BUT, I have to tell you … I don’t make computers. I don’t know anyone who makes computers. Getting upset with how they work won’t help. Learning how to make them work right will. I’m sorry it hurts your right brain, or whatever part of the brain you mentioned. But that’s just the way it is.
Sure, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But you are neither old, nor a dog.
Either way, I’m afraid we have to discontinue this computer-advice relationship. For my own good.
We must. Scott (my brother) would be more than happy to help you from now on, and remember, when he says hit “send,” just hit send.
— Your son