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Mom Versus Computer
by Shawn Underwood

My nemesis, the computer, completely frustrates me to no end and this is where my tale begins…

I approach the computer with trepidation; yes it appears innocuous, as there is food spillage on the keypads, making it a rather friendly looking piece of hardware. I convince myself that yes, I can work on “Word” without mishap even though my twelve-year-old daughter is not here to help me. I am really tired of her looks of sympathy and then her looks of despair at the ineptitude of her parent.

I recall an amusing story and happily type it all out and proceed to send it to my agent (harassed friend). I push what I believe to be the appropriate key and then to my utter dismay all of my work disappears. Quickly back pedal or what is known as backspace. Nothing. Look in the “Teenagers and Driving” file...nothing. 

“Teenagers and Driving” isn’t even in its own file. What is wrong? Maybe I should take a computer class; perhaps I am wasting a lot of time trying to navigate my computer. I hate to think that my husband and kids are right. Maybe I am inept at working my own piece of equipment. I can manage to do a lot of other things; I did drive a pea-viner for a living for two weeks in Mount Vernon. So what if it was twenty-five years ago, that is one mean piece of machinery. They have heard the pea-viner story before and commence with the chortles and guffaws. This is the usual response I get to, “I remember when” stories. I decide to wait for my daughter to come home. She will help me; she at least likes me most of the time.

I eagerly pick up my twelve-year-old computer savvy daughter at school. Attempt to bribe her with after school treat. She suspects something is up when I offer to clean her room. She asks how my day went and I admit that perhaps I had the smallest problem with my nemesis the computer. She rolls her eyes. I am used to this and take no offense.

After I show my daughter the extent of my damage, she sighs loudly and suggests that perhaps her fifth grade teacher can tutor me in the mysterious ways of “Word”. I of course readily agree and ask if she can solve my now solve my problem. She pushes all sorts of keys with rapid finger movements. I feebly ask if she can explain things to me but she is immersed in the problem. Perhaps it is best to keep quiet. Finally she announces that indeed this time I really messed things for good. I need a professional. Am aware I need professional help but do not like hearing it from my daughter.

Tomorrow I will pick my daughter up and hope that she has arranged my tutoring lesson with her fifth grade teacher. I assume this will mean many school volunteer activities will suddenly be offered to me as payback; it will be worth it for a tutoring session. My esteem will rise when all family members see me conquer my nemesis, the computer.