Even though the call of duty reached me on the USA election day, I think I'll leave politics out of this. Instead I'm going to tell you how I spent some days at my parents' house installing their new computer. Ok ok, if you want to stop reading now because you think this is going in the direction of a nerdy format c: story , I wish you a pleasant day. |
On Sunday evening I got the first glimpse on how computers are used by most people the age of my parents. They're both in their mid 50's, just like good ole wonderaz who, in my eyes, is the exception of today's computer illiteracy among "older" people. I was watching cartoons downstairs when I heard my mum yell, "Markus !!!! Markus !!!! Can you come and help me ?? Please ??" The years I've spent with these people taught me that you always have to wait for the third yell. I don't know why, it's some sort of unwritten law I guess. So after 15 minutes I walked up to where my mum was sitting, mumbling, "...stupid machine... never does what I want..."
"whats the problem?" I asked.
" I can't find the letter I wrote yesterday."
Easy thing, I thought, so I took a seat, and asked if she could remember the name she saved it as. "kruger.doc". Ok. So I went into the search function, entered the name, aaaaannnnddd...nothing. Hmm. "Are you sure that was the name?" Of course she was sure. Parents, they can tell you where you spent the night 3rd to 4th of July in the year 1995, but they can't even recall a simple file name. To cut it short, for the next 45 minutes I searched the whole hard disk, opening every document there was, which is a pain in the ass if you have ever run Word on a 486 using win 95. It takes ages. Nearly one hour had passed, and I was already starting to believe that it would be like Murphy's law, and I'd find the "kruger" letter in the last doc file I opened. I came across something called "mum.doc.". Believe me, it was huge. 1.65mb word documents aren't what you come across everyday. No kidding, it took me 5 minutes to open that thing. There it was, the kruger letter, together with almost everything my mum had ever written on this computer. I was amazed. I asked her what program she uses at work. Innocently she replied "Word of course, what else?" Aha, that gave me a complete new outlook on how bureaucracy works and why it is so slow. I don't even wanna see the "mum.doc" she uses at work. Tsktsk. Parents.
Monday, it was my granny's 80th birthday. One big parade of senile old people I had never seen before, or if I had, they had changed their looks dramatically. I switched from "Hi, I'm Markus" to: "Hi, I'm Ellen's son" very soon. I got very drunk that day together with the other 5 people who were younger than 40. Scary, believe me. About 100 nearly dead people dancing to old seamen songs: "to my hodie, to my hodie. wir lagen vor Madagascar..."(that was "flat" German, not English, so don't even bother to understand it). But that is not the point. I was about to tell you about the computer thingy.
Tuesday I woke up, very late and very hungover, to the upset voice of my mother. "He did it, he did it, finally he bought a new computer. Markus get up, you have to help him. Here, have some coffee..." Oh well. A day to spend with my dad. There is nothing more terrible, especially when it is about computers. He surely reads a lot about it, but understands nothing it seems. At least he knows how to use a mouse. In fact, I wasn't even sure about that. He had bought one of these pre-installed machines. You just switch it on and start working, and that's what I did. He was amazed. After explaining some of the differences between Windows ME and Win95 he was totally confused, so I summed it up with the words: "For you, nothing has changed. Just work with it like you always did." I could almost see the stone that fell of him. I knew now would come the hardest part ... THE INTERNET ... The smart guy he is, he had already bought a couple of books about e-mails, browsers, and all that stuff. So I sent him away for some hours to read through it, and come back and ask me questions later. Man, he bought an 8x cd writer and a dvd player, woohoo. While I was copying CD's, I watched The Matrix, The Green Mile, all sorts of stuff like that. But that's just on a side note.
When my dad came back we had something like a quiz. I asked him questions about the mysteries of Internet, and respect respect, he had learned a lot. Three beers later, it was time to get him through the process of the FIRST CONNECT. He fucked it up. Hmm. Two more beers, and he understood the principles while I started to have slight problems focusing on the screen. "WE ARE IN !!", I heard him yell all of a sudden. Great, we are in, woohoo. I dropped the last bit of the joint and walked back inside. Man, this look in his eyes, almost like a small child just before Christmas. Mum and dad leaning over the computer, both with their reading glasses on. They did it, they were online. Online for 5 minutes without doing a single thing. They were just online... tutor time. At the end of that day, they had their own e-mail addresses, had already written some, and learned to use IExplorer and Outlook Express. For a moment, I thought I should make money from it, teaching old people about the net. Really, it was just for a moment, I don't wanna end as a mental wreck in some hospital for computer nutzos.
Wednesday came. I packed my stuff and was about to leave for a friend's when my dad came. "Son, can you come with me for a moment?" Oh no, they had found my weed, I thought. "Take a look at that. That is not normal, is it? I have no cd drives anymore." Ack, computer stuff again.
"What the fuck have you done?"
"Nothing", he replied ," I just wanted to copy my documents from the one to the other machine, when I got the message that I have a parity boot virus now."
How is that possible I ask you. I have had my computer for over a year now and never had a virus, ok apart from that sub7 Trojan I, by accident, infected myself with.
"Anyway, we have to bring your sister to the airport now, I hope you can fix it." He said it and left. "Great", I thought. "The last day of holidays is ruined by computer crap." To be honest, I'm not the computer wizard you may perhaps think. I know really nothing about BIOS blablah, and all the other stuff. Nevertheless, I started the frustrating trial and error, change this, change that procedure. I found, to my surprise, that they delivered the computer without cd drivers on a disc, just on cd. Strangely enough, I didn't even get to DOS with that ME crab. After one hour of useless BIOS changes, which happened to be reset by ME, (has anyone encountered the same problem ??? ME resets the BIOS ? Or was it the virus ? Whatever), and several tries to get a DOS prompt, I called the tech support hotline. I was very patient even though one minute on the phone cost me about $1.50. Hell, I did everything they told me, even the things I had tried on my own before. I installed ide-controllers like crazy, I rebooted about a million times, I changed the bios again and again... Techy: "Hmm, I have no other idea, but if you find a solution to the problem, please give us a call and let us know what you did." What ?????? I paid $10 to be told there is no solution but if I find one I should share it??? Bastards. No need to say that I was about to kill the computer. Smash it or throw it out the window. I was even near to completely reinstalling everything, when the friend who I was about to visit called me being all angry. "Hey, mac . Wtf is wrong with you? It is always the same, you never show up the time you say." Ya, great, that was exactly what I needed. Someone who yells at me because I'm trying to help my parents. Good thing I knew he is one of those allstar computer wizards. The type of person who gets calls from friends 24/7, asking for help with this and that and this and that. Maybe he allows me to post some pieces from his answering machine, even though I have to admit I'm on it as well. Most of the time drunk and ranting.
Guess what ... fdisk /mbr was the cure!!! One fucking line. One damned command. Geeeez.
I'm in Cologne now, and I have to say, 5 days of living with my family again is more than enough for the next months. Since I returned, i'm not picking up the phone anymore, cause 4 out of 5 times it is my dad having problems again. I think I'll give him the allstar 24/7 computer geek hotline number. Eike shall take care of my father's stupid questions... I have had it with computers and parents. And no way I'll ever again try to teach something about Internet to people older than, hmmm , let's say 40.
Liked it? Vote for me on the top 100 Gateway or something, or vote Gore 'cause every voice for Nader is a voice for Bush. And who the fuck is Harry Browne? I know, I know, by the time this update goes online the election will already be over and you may have done the wrong thing. That's the way life goes.
Whorehouse? Kill Zeiss!!! Kill him !!! Don't think twice, just rob him, burn his houses, steal his whores, or go on a good ole drive-by shooting...
Thanks so far, and good night.