Hank and I have an agreement. He doesn’t touch my computer. I do the same for his power tools. It’s a joke between us. But a change, although a small one, is in the works.
As for tech stuff, Hank is one of the few people I know who is not interested in finding his way around the Internet. He’s a bit old-fashioned. He likes catalogues and books, in paper, and will call the business to place his order.
Sometimes, when that isn’t possible, he will ask me to “go on the computer” to find what he needs. He’ll sit beside me while I find the tool or whatever he needs on a site. Then, I place the order.
It’s not that I haven’t offered to teach Hank to use my computer. He just doesn’t have any use for it. Or desire.
On the other hand, my job as an editor depends on being computer savvy. Then, I have my personal writing at home and just seeing what’s happening in the world on various news and social media sites.
I stay clear of power tools — things that fasten and cut. Hank uses them to make beautiful furniture, cabinetry and structures out of wood. Those tools simply look dangerous to me. (I will use a hammer, screwdriver or another hand tool as needed.)
When we built our home back East, Hank had some romantic notion we would work together. One afternoon, I was supposed to help him cut plywood. I was afraid of getting my fingers lopped off. Hank, who was used to working with people who knew their way around spinning saw blades, got impatient.
We quickly realized this wasn’t going to happen. You know what they say: build a house, lose a spouse. Instead I got a second job, plus did coffee runs and made lunch for the crews who came on the weekend.
So here is that small change. Hank is going to drive soon across country to work on a daughter’s new home. I decided he had to have a cell phone so I activated the iPhone I didn’t turn in when I upgraded a few months ago. He knows how to use it to make and answer calls since he’s taken it with him when he’s picked up a kid at the airport.
I notified the kids Dad has a cell phone. I warned them I may even teach him to text.
So I did.
One daughter bragged to her five siblings on Facebook she got the first text ever from their father. Yesterday, he responded to a group text to the kids and me. I was at work when I heard the “ding” on my phone. Holy crap. He was asking a daughter to do some research about a woodworking project at the library. Another daughter praised Hank for “texting like a champ.”
This morning over coffee, Hank got a text from a son. “Hey, Dad! Welcome to your first computer.”
Hank’s response? “I’m taking over the world.”