Whoever coined the phrase, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” never met my grandparents. Everyone has the elderly grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc, that does not want anything to do with technology introduced after the television. Computers are a joke, cell phones are unnecessary and even VCR’s are rather difficult. I am lucky to still have three of my grandparents and even luckier to say they all own cell phones, VCR’s and Grandpa attempted a computer.
My grandpa purchased a computer a while back; he purchased it for a very specific reason – to play his airplane flight simulation game. The game listed required specs, as all games do, so he ordered a computer with the exact specs it required – not more, not less. He spent a few years checking his MSN email account – I haven’t a clue if he ever played the game or not – enjoying photos of his great-grandchildren and emails from his kids and grandkids. I’m not sure how many he actually read since every time I stopped by his house (once every two months) he needed some assistance in opening an email or downloading a photo. Towards the of this era he was becoming very frustrated because the “emails with darker letters and high numbers next to them wouldn’t do anything when you clicked on them.” It turns out his dial up connection couldn’t handle the megapixels of the advanced digital cameras used by the younger generations. He gave up and donated the old Dell to a local computer charity – a place where old computers are ripped apart and the pieces sit around until they are outdated and thrown away – my house. All in all, I am very impressed and proud for that matter, that Grandpa gave it a shot. In the computer category, he was ahead – especially after Grandma H asked if the old TV in the spare bedroom still worked… it was a computer monitor.
As for the VCR category, we’re all stuck at the starting line with our heads in the manuals. Mom bought Grandma and Grandpa Z a VCR/DVD player for Christmas… two years ago. The DVD aspect was really intended for our use when we visited, but mom bought them a DVD to let them try it out anyway. It’s still in the wrapping. And last I heard, they had never used the VCR.
Grandma H may have a slight lead in this category. She did have the VCR hooked up and functioning. Well, it was functioning until someone came and mixed the wires up during a Nintendo tournament. This was over one year ago. She believed it was broken until recently. I believe the wires have been sorted out and she may have even watched that video I brought over last summer. Atleast she laughs about the situation.
… all in all, VCR’s are not their thing.
Now Grandma Z has had a cell phone for years. Mom bought it for her in case of an emergency. I haven’t figured out what emergency mom feared considering Grandpa calls the cops on her whenever she goes over her budgeted shoppping time. (but that’s another story) Anyways, she still has her first cell phone, which coincidentally is one of the first cell phones ever made, and she carries it everywhere. Honestly, I don’t think it’s been turned on in years – the phone company very well may have cancelled it due to inactivity and forgotten to tell us. But still – she owns one and that’s cool.
Recently Grandma H’s landline went down. Of course the whole family panicked and thought something happened because the phone didn’t work; when in reality, she didn’t have a clue because it was only 10:30 am and she was busy baking two cakes, two lasagnas, cookies and cleaning the house. Mom was still in new cell phone mode because she had just renewed her contract, so she decided it was time Grandma H got one. She got a cute little flip phone, 1/4 the size and weight of Grandma Z’s (which is ironic since Grandma Z is 1/4 the size and weight of Grandma H). I figured she would put it in the corner and never use it again but I was wrong. She is having the time of her life. The next day she called all the family from it to tell them, through a little girls giggle, “guess where I’m calling from… my cell phone.” She has continued to relay stories of the phone ringing and her answering a wrong number and feeling disappointed. It’s absolutely adorable. I haven’t seen someone get so youthfully excited since my little brothers “made poo poo in the potty.” So as for the cell phone category – Grandma H is heading for the finish line.
While I don’t want to make it out that Grandma H has come out entirely ahead because Grandpa Z has made some significant progress in the ‘political opinion’ category. The man who has voted republican for the past 85 years of his life declared, prior to the election, that he sees Bush to be dangerous for the country, not to mention the elderly. I was shell shocked to hear this but overwhelmed with joy at the same time. I was so proud that he was still mentally capable of comprehending such a thought. He preceded to vote Democratic for the first time ever and spent Easter trying to convince my Englishman to bring me back to England with him because I should “get out before it’s too late.” I have always respected all my grandparents and our differing opinions but this brought pride to a whole new level. Atleast now when my mom gets upset I’m leaving, I can say “grandpa told me too.”
So, like I said before, who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?