My Calculator Can Beat Up Your Calculator

My Mother, God love her, is not what I would call “Tech Savvy”. She is the kind of lady that is still really impressed with her analog tape answering machine. She’s the type that calls up neighbors to help her get out of the home screen on her favorite Patrick Swayze DVD. When the band released our first CD, she asked me if she could have it on tape. She actually did own a hand-me-down computer for a few months last year until it died a quick blue screen death, but it took all of the “processing power” she could muster to have me receive the following four emails the day she got that computer, all in about a 5 minute span:

Email #1: “hey dan! I figured it out! Can you read this? Call me”

Email #2: “Hey Dan! I got it! Can you read this electronic mail? I think the internet is awesome. I can read news on the yahoo”

Email #3: “not sure if you can read this. I tried to electronic mail you but you didn’t call me back”

Email #4: “I don’t think my computer works. Is this Dan Fisk from Seneca Falls, New York?”

So knowing my Mother’s computer skills are comparable to my ability to read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, I wasn’t terribly surprised when she called me the other day asking me to get my computer out because she needed me to help her out. My inner monologue included guesses to what she may have needed; maybe looking up an address on mapquest? A search of the bingo halls closest to her house?

Once I told her I already had my computer out and ready to go, she repeated “okay, are you ready?” I opened up a browser window with “The Google” prepared to solve her quandary. Here is how the rest of the conversation went:

Me: “Yup, fire away Mom.”

Mom: “O – n – e... s – e – v – e – n…. s – i – x … z – e – r – o” she says very slowly and over-pronouncing them as if I was some combination of hearing impaired and learning disabled.

Me: (thinking she is giving me an address) “Okay, got it”

Mom: (repeating, apparently to be on the safe side) “That’s o – n – e... s – e – v – e – n…. s – i –…”

Me: “I got it Mom.. 1760”

Mom: “Okay… so one, seven, six, zero…. p – o – i – n – t… t-w-o… t-h-r-e-e”

Me: “Point?” My inner dialogue was slightly surprised. Could Mom be giving me an IP Address? Does she even know what that is?

Mom: “Yes. O – n – e... s – e – v – e – n…. s – i – x … z – e – r – o… point two…”

Me: (Curious and patiently yet painfully waiting)… “okaaaaaaaay…”

Mom: One, seven, six, zero point two…”

Me: (Impatient) “Mmm K”

Mom: “Minus fourty point one four.”

Me: “What?!”

Mom: “o – n – e... s – e – v…“

Me: “No, I heard you Mom… are you giving me a math problem?”

Mom: “Yes, I’m doing bills and I can’t find my calculator.”

Me: You called me up and had me get on my COMPUTER to do third grade algebra?! Scientists used computers less sophisticated than mine to map the human genome, and you want me to subtract $40.14 from $1,760.20?!”

Mom: “Well then it should be able to do math then right?”

Pure genius.

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