My phone vibrates less these days. I don’t get “those” calls anymore.
You know, the PC calls.
No matter where you live, you’ll always be your parents’ FAQ. The help desk. The call center in India. Wherever you go, they’ll call you.
But finally, and it only took a decade, my Dad got himself a Mac for Christmas.
In ten years, the guy had gone through five computers. And before you translate that into two years per computer, it’s more like two weeks coupled with a broken machine limping along for another couple of years before it dies. There wasn’t a PC in the world he couldn’t wreck. It was almost like an art form for him.
Pop-up blocker this? Anti-virus that? Oh please, whatever.
You know the drill. Dad buys a computer, then calls you to put it together. If you’re five states away, it makes no difference – he’ll find your childhood best friend to come over and do it. Then you plead with him over the phone not to click “yes” on any of those pop-ups, and you beg him not to download anything.
But he’ll click something anyway. He’ll tell you that some random pop-up about Lindsay Lohan kissing two women kept appearing. He couldn’t help it.
Those porn sites? Accidental visits.
I mean, you’d think my parents would know to avoid this type of stuff. Afterall, they’re always the first ones to forward me the notices that if I open up an email entitled “African Anteater Ritual,” my computer will blow-up and I will never have children again. And you’d think lady-luck would shine on them, since they’re diligent about forwarding those make-a-wish emails about finding true love to 10 people in the next 10 minutes after you open it.
So we had (another) argument about buying a Mac. It went something like this:
“Why should we get dat Moc? It iss too maach mahney. You con buy dees wan por only $200 lang, pero ang Moc mo iss pip-teen hondred!”
“But Dad, your $200 computer has no RAM, no memory, and no warranty.”
“It does, it has a warranty.”
“But it doesn’t have a keyboard.”
“Ay nako, but it comes with a pree PRINTAR!!! I just want a printar, I don’t care about dees memory or rom, or whatever. I just want to print email from your Lola in the Philippines!!”
“But it takes you three days to turn on your computers and then dial into AOL.”
Well, I take that back. He had the process down to under an hour. And he got so good with the PC that he’d only get the blue screen from hell twice a day.
But you can’t argue with a $200 no-name-brand-Black-Friday-by-4AM-only-and-all-sales-final piece of garbage – afterall, IT HAS A FREE PRINTER. I hear the printer even comes with ink.
So then, like many fathers, he saw that someone ELSE had a Mac. So he decided maybe he finally had to have one of those things for himself. Not because I kept bugging him, but because someone else had something shiny.
“Your Auntie Baby hass dat, why don’t I get a Moc too?”
Thank you, Tita Baby.
So discounts and blue screens be damned, I set it up and he got one.
Then I explained that the $30/month for AOL was silly since something, ANYTHING wireless was out there for the same price. He couldn’t believe you didn’t have to pay for your email address. And so FiOS was born.
On the one hand, it’s admirable that my father will do whatever he has to do to save money. This is the same guy who stuck pennies and screwdrivers in his dashboard because he didn’t want to pay for it to get fixed by the dealer. He’ll always remind me that the car lasted our family ten years.
On the other hand, it’s also nice that he now has real internet, on a computer that will protect him— from himself. He’s onto the revolution now. He can surf the net like it’s 1999.
And now, two weeks later, I don’t seem to get frustrated anymore when Dad calls. He even figured out how to hide the porn sites from Mom. So now when he calls, it’s just to say hello.