Looking back over the years there are a few things I miss from home. The cheap living, the ironed shirts and my socks bunched neatly into pairs by a loving mother. Being a slovenly sod I now live off Tesco blue and white, sport odd socks on a daily basis and wear my boxers for two days to save on washing powder (it’s easy to know whether they’re on right -yellow to the front, brown to the back). Whilst there’s plenty I do miss from home… there’s plenty I don’t.
Take for example, teaching my father how to use a computer. He isn’t the most technically gifted of people when it comes to such, as he calls it ‘hocus pocus’ so I’d already resigned myself to the fact that it would be an uphill struggle from the word go. Many moons ago when Bill Gates had reached the dizzy heights of Windows 3.1, I sat my father down in an effort to teach him the basics before technology ran away from him quicker than his hair colour did. He was, as expected, a complete and utter useless buffoon… a quality that I’ve inherited, but thankfully not in the technical sense. Initially just sitting the old boy down in front of what he calls the ‘contometer’ was bad enough and predictably it was only ten seconds in when we hit our first major stumbling block. “How does this contraption turn on?” he asked as he began jabbing away at the floppy disk drive. A long five minutes passed before he managed to find the big red on button without prompt. He even managed to press it without a drama. Well done father.
After waiting an age for the computer to actually turn on, it was time for the trickiest bit of all… the mouse. I tried to explain the concept as best I could; “Father, perhaps you should think of it as a pencil drawing on the screen”. His bemused look made me think that he hadn’t quite grasped the idea of it yet… ok or perhaps “just an object you move which moves this arrow on the screen”. A relatively simple task I’m sure you’d agree? But no, not my father, he couldn’t just use it like any normal person. I’ve seen monkeys on the TV using hammers and pliers before so surely he could be taught? Although, you have to bear in mind this is the same man that once broke his arm trying to pick up a coat whilst he was stood on it. It flipped him over and made him fall down the stairs. I laughed but had to admire him when he waved his floppy arm at me in all sorts of right angles and I mentioned that perhaps he ought to go to the hospital. He simply replied “Nah its fine”. No father, it’s not. It’s broken.
I instructed him to use the mouse and click on the screen. Simple? Mouse in hand, he immediately lifted it off the desk and waved it around in the air! At that precise moment, I lost all the respect I ever had for him. I also lost my will to live as I knew that I’d end up just like him one day – I’m already going grey. Soon I’ll be constantly farting, picking out ear wax with my car keys and when my children ask what’s for tea I’ll think I’m hilarious when I reply by saying “pigs dick and lettuce”. I spent 2 hours of my life with that man trying to teach him how to use a bloody mouse… only to give up entirely and waste another hour getting him to turn the ‘contometer’ off.
Imagine my horror when my mother suggested buying him a Nintendo Wii for his birthday. I think that perhaps a nice pair of cufflinks might be more appropriate, or even an analogue watch – he can just about use that.