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Tech support for mom

CamerBruce W.

Cameron, Bruce W.

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Updated: September 8, 2011 12:30AM



When my mother calls and says, “Do you have just a second?” I know I’d better find a comfortable chair because this is going to take awhile.

“Your dad and I want to watch a DVD, and I can’t remember how to make it work,” she says.

“OK,” I say. “Is the DVD player on?”

“Should I turn it on?”

“Yes, that would probably help.”

“OK. Do I use the DVD remote or the TV remote?”

“The DVD remote.”

“Or, what’s this? This is the cable remote.”

“The DVD remote.”

“Is this ... there’s another one here, what’s this one?”

“Use the DVD remote.”

“OK. The DVD remote. What button do I push?”

“The one that says power.”

“OK, I pushed it.”

“What happened?”

“The lights went out on the DVD player.”

“Oh, OK, that means it was already on. Push the button again.”

“I don’t remember turning it on.”

“Push the button again.”

“Would I have had to turn it on to put in the DVD?”

“Yes. Push the button again.”

“OK, I did. The lights came on and then went off.”

“Did you push the button twice?”

“I did what you told me.”

“OK, push the button again.”

“Again?”

“Push the button again.”

“Ok.”

“Do you see lights on the DVD player?”

“Yes.”

“And what do you see on the TV?”

“A duck.”

“A duck?”

“A goose. Some sort of animated thing.”

“Is it the movie you wanted to watch?”

“No! That’s really funny. No, the movie has Al Pacino. Is that his name?”

“OK. Get the TV remote.”

“Do you ever watch this? You like animation.”

“Mom. How can I know what show you’re watching? I can’t see what’s on your TV.”

“Well I can’t either.”

“You can’t see it?”

“I mean, I don’t know what show it is.”

“Point the TV remote at the TV and push the button that says ‘Menu.’”

“OK. Whoa! Now there’s text all over the screen!”

“Those are menu selections. What do they say?”

“Well, I don’t know.”

“What do you mean?”

“When I saw the words, I pushed the menu button again, and they went away.”

“Why did you push the menu button twice?”

“You had me push the DVD button twice.”

I sigh. “You’re right. OK. Push the menu button once, then read me the words you see.”

“It says, ‘Signal, External Input’ ...”

“External Input. Highlight External Input and push Select.”

“OK. Whoa!”

“What happened?”

“The dog just about knocked me over.”

“Are you OK?”

“Of course.”

“Did you push select?”

“I can’t remember.”

“What does it say on the screen?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing? Did you push menu again?”

“No. Let me ask your father.”

“Wait, why?”

“He took the remote. He said he was getting impatient. Bill! Do you want to watch the movie or not?”

“Was he able to get the DVD working, then?”

“He says he doesn’t care if we watch the movie. But I do. It’s got that actor in it, Mel Gibson. Do you like him? He was so good in ‘Da Vinci Code.’”

“He ... you mean Tom Hanks?”

“Who? Was he in the ‘Godfather’ movies?”

“No, that was Al Pacino.”

“What did I say?”

“You said Mel Gibson.”

“Well, that’s not what I meant. Who played Indiana Jones?”

“That was Harrison Ford.”

“OK, not him.”

“Mom, why don’t you either hand the phone to Dad or have him give you the remote back.”

There’s a loud rustling sound, and then my father comes on the line. “Hello?” he barks gruffly.

“Hi, Dad, I’m trying to help you get the DVD going. Do you have the remote?”

“Me? No, I handed it back to your mother.”

“Why did she give you the phone, then?”

“I don’t know, she traded it for the remote.”

“Maybe you should give her the phone back.”

There’s a rustling sound and my mom comes back on.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Mom, so what’s on the screen now?”

“The movie!”

“What? You got the DVD player working? How?”

“I don’t know, I was just pushing buttons.”

“Well, if you don’t know how you did it, how will you watch DVDs in the future?”

“Oh, that’s simple,” she says brightly. “I’ll just call you!”



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