Digitally Challenged, Old News
Wednesday - July 26, 2006
The funny things families do is the subject of this month’s hodgepodge.
The electronically challenged
My mother has always been what you might call “electronically challenged.” The woman is sharp as a tack when it comes to intellectual matters, but stick a remote control in her hand and she’s not quite sure how to work it.
“How do you turn the TV down?” my mom asked one day, after her attempts to turn down the volume only made the TV louder.
“Uh, you have it backwards,” I yelled, trying to talk over the blaring noise and taking the remote control from her to turn it to face forward. “You had it upside down so the sensor button was facing you, not the TV.”
“Oh,” my mom giggled. “Hee, hee, my mistake. Hey, it still worked though.”
“Yes, but you were pressing the wrong button,” I laughed.
My mom is cute, though. Because I know how smart she is, it has always boggled my mind how the cell phone, the VCR and apparently the TV remote control manage to confuse her so.
Of course, I make no claims that I know what I’m doing when it comes to working more than word processing and e-mail on my computer, but my mom gets totally flustered even when she is faced with pressing “record” on the VCR to tape a program for me.
Mom is a little sensitive about her affliction, and try as we might, my father and I have not been able to help her deficiency when it comes to electronic gadgetry.
It’s OK though. Because who said smart people can be intelligent about everything? We all have our strengths and weaknesses. My mother is a brilliant, award-winning teacher who knows her way around grammar rules and complex poetry. Her only weakness is she remains a little “electronically challenged.”
Feeling the burn I chose my place of physical therapy because my mother had once gone there for her own back problems. So when my father needed some rehabilitation for his injured knee, he decided to make it a family affair and join me at Fernandez Sports & Physical Therapy in Kahala.
It just so happened that one day we were there at the same time.
I had met several people during my treatments and, on this particular day, my physical therapy aide, Dean, had just introduced me to a woman who was a teacher at my alma mater, Iolani School. We chatted a bit and then moved on to our individual exercises.
A while later, my dad came in. He sat down on a leg press machine and was in between sets when I walked by, leaned down and joked, “That’s right, feel the burn, old man!”
I walked away as my dad was laughing, but then I heard Dean explain, “Oh, don’t worry, that’s her dad.”
I turned around and the lovely Iolani teacher I had just met was staring, slack-jawed, at me. She thought she had just overheard what appeared to be a very disrespectful Iolani alum insulting a sweet, helpless older man. (Uh, by the way, my dad’s not that helpless or that old either - only 62.)
Needless to say I was quite embarrassed. My dad thought it was hilarious, as did my mother, who laughed hysterically when we told her the story later.
I suppose families tease each other in their own special ways that might seem appalling to an average onlooker. I think my dad knew I was only calling him “old man” to jump start his next set of leg exercises.
But in the end, I was the one who was “feeling the burn.”
Speaking of old ...
Did you know that once you’re age 62, there are some exciting perks to be had? My dad found this out when we had a daddy/daughter weekend getaway to the Big Island a few weeks back. As we entered the Volcano National Park, he was informed that if he was, in fact, 62 or older, he qualified for a lifetime pass to absolutely any national park! Well, talk about excited! My dad kept talking about the pass all the way up to our hotel!
He didn’t even mind that on the front of the card in big orange print it reads, “GOLDEN YEARS.” I guess a free lifetime membership to national parks, for my dad, was pretty golden.
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