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Help! My Son is in College and My Computer is Broken!

Sep 012012
 
 By , September 1, 2012

No more easy street when a techie son leaves for college

When my son left for college three years ago, I replaced him with a Yorkiepoo. It was a great idea. I’ve still got someone to take care of, feed, pick up after and talk to. Captain, unlike my son, even loves going on long walks with me. The one thing Captain can’t do is fix my computer.

As the mother of a tech-savvy son, I was spoiled rotten. From the time Tom was in middle school, he easily solved any computer problem that developed. I’m not the only mom in this predicament. Most of my friends haven’t got a clue what goes on inside their desktops because they‘ve always counted on their kids to keep the gizmos in good working order.

My pal Jody, who lives across the country, just got a new puppy.

“I want to see photos!” I emailed her.

“You can!” she responded. “I just posted them on my Facebook page.”

I searched her page. No photos.

Turns out that she’d carefully followed her adult son’s step-by-step photo-posting instructions. But since she’d relied on him to handle anything computer-related from the time he was a toddler, now that he’s up and gone, she, like me, is computer-stupid. She thought she was posting puppy photos on Facebook. Who knows where those photos ended up?

We moms with college-aged kids don’t want to follow screen after screen of inscrutable instructions. We want our computers to continue to function as well as they did when our kids were under our roofs to take care of them.

I’m proud of my son. He’s taking challenging courses at a fiercely competitive elite university. He made Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. He’s started a profitable business, and runs a computer-related charity. He has a great girlfriend. He even has his own dog to walk. His life is very full and he is insanely, impossibly busy.

It just isn’t fair to ask him to drop everything to spend time fixing basic computer glitches for me, merely because I gave birth to him and managed to raise him to maturity without once dropping him on his head. But I persist.

Last night I phoned once again to ask for help. “The computer won’t let me download anything on Youtube!“ I whined. “What can I do?“

He was studying for an exam, but he took a minute to email me a link to step-by-step instructions for fixing the problem. They were written in the usual mom-repellent gibberish. I knew it would take hours to make any sense of them, and that in attempting to make the fix myself I’d undoubtedly hit the wrong key and delete all my files. Or wreck my mainframe. (Whatever that is.) Tom could make the fix in two minutes. He could do it in his sleep. But even in his sleep, he’s probably too busy.

Instead of downloading videos on Youtube, I can always walk the dog. A Yorkiepoo is what’s known as a “designer dog,” meaning that he isn’t a pure bred dog but a mix of two different breeds. Captain is part Yorkshire Terrier and part Toy Poodle. The goal is to achieve a mix of the best qualities of each breed.

If only someone could design a dog that’s a mixture of Yorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle and Tech Support. Every mom I know with a kid in college and an ailing computer would buy one in a heartbeat.

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Roz Warren Roz is the author of Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection Of Library Humor. She writes for The New York Times and The Funny Times. Her work also appears in Good Housekeeping, The Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Humor Times. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter or visit her website.

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  • CKS

    My daughter left for college this year and every time I have a computer problem to solve I have to skype her–that is, when I figure out how to skype. Great piece!