Long ago, in my former life, I was a computer programmer/consultant. Back in those days, the computer systems were the size of a Buick, and programmers were treated like gods. I'd go to a client and personnel would part like the Red Sea as I walked through the office. I would lay my hands on the machine and bring crashed programs back to life. Heady stuff along with the satisfaction of solving a problem, usually human error.
A year or so ago, we gave Dad a computer. I thought it would open up a new world for him, as well as keep him out of Ma's hair. I signed him up with America On Hold. Assured him I'd pay the bill so Ma wouldn't see anything. I'm not overly fond of AOH, but it is the easiest portal to use. I spent lots of visits with Dad going through the basics of turning the machine on and off, how to get his mail. Dad spent many hours I constantly heard complaints. "They don't give me my email," as if there are little people inside the machine who like to aggravate the user. "I've never seen that screen before," in reference to the Windows logo that comes up when la machine is turned on.
DSL became available in their area through the phone company and for less money than I was paying for AOH. A lot of his complaints had to do with no being able to get online. I thought high speed would be the answer as he'd always be online. Cancelled AOH and signed him up for DSL. DSL would be better. He could surf and the phone would still be available in case of an emergency. The dial up always worried me as I thought what if there is an emergency and in their panic he forgot the phone was still connected to the computer. Yes, DSL would be better.
The phone company sent me an entire kit to make the connections, the modem, splitter for the phone. I only had one phone that proved to be a problem as it still had the four prong jack instead of the modern module system. It was an easy enough problem to solve. Since the room isn't in use, I unplugged the phone. There's a bit of residual static on the line. This from an old phone in the basement that was hard wired into the phone line. Not an approved telephone company procedure. However, it doesn't seem to interfere with the computer.
So, got him up and running and still hear the same complaints. "They" are really out to get him.
Dad called this morning and as I thought he had given up on the computer was surprised when he said,"I turned it on, but nothing happens. It's been like this for three days."
Now, the Young One had played on the computer during the Ave Maria festivities. She didn't have any problems getting online to YouTube.
"What do you mean "nothing happens"? I asked instantly going into consultant mode.
"The screen is blank. I can hear the sound when I turn it on, but don't see anything."
"Is the computer on now?"
"Okay, turn it on and tell me what you see."
A few seconds later, I could hear the CPU drives engage and the happy chime of the Windows logo.
"There? Did you hear that? Now nothing."
"Nothing? Did you see the Windows logo on the screen?"
I started ticking off possible problems, the video card was blown, or a problem with the monitor, and I decided to go for the obvious. "Did you turn on the monitor?"
"The television screen in front of you. Did you turn that on?"
"No. I never had to do that before."
I've always had to turn on his monitor, but I didn't want to get into an argument. "Ok, try turning on the mon...the television screen in front of you."
"How do I do that?"
I tried to picture his monitor. "There should be a button on the front of it."
"Oh, I see it."
Nineteen years away from the industry, and I still haven't lost my touch. I just might have to wear two cowboy hats because my head is so big.