(HOST) Lately, commentator Edith Hunter has been reflecting on computers, babies and user guides.
(HUNTER) When one of our sons was a brand new baby he was, what was called, a projectile vomiter. After every feeding the milk was returned. The pediatrician suggested that I not feed him and bring him in. We would feed him with the pediatrician present. Of course, no such performance took place. The milk stayed down nicely. When we got home, the old behavior resumed.
My nine year old computer suddenly developed problems. It did not want to turn on, or it shut off by itself. The cursor occasionally froze and I had to shut it off incorrectly. The screen began to behave strangely.
Time to act. I made an appointment to take the old computer in and show off its disabilities. Of course, it behaved perfectly at the computer store, just as the baby had in the doctor’s office.
In the light of my experience with the baby, I decided to buy a new computer (not an option with the baby). I insisted on having all my files transferred to the new machine while I waited. Fortunately they were able to fit me in. I was home by early afternoon with my new machine, all my files in place, ready to go. Or so I thought.
It was fortunate that I hadn’t been able to turn that baby in almost sixty years ago. He lives next door and set the machine up for me, checked that my email was in place, and left.
Feeling totally overwhelmed, I got out the User’s Guide. Chapter 1 was titled “Getting Started.” I found that this first chapter was all about setting up the computer which my son had already done, so I pushed right on to Chapter 2. But this chapter was all about the different parts of the computer. Chapter 3 offered me all kinds of information about special features and capabilities.
This was not at all what I had in mind. I wanted to know how to use it – get to my email, how to spell check, save, print, and how to find my commentaries so I could write a new one.
To make a long story short, I put in a call to that nearby son and he came over and gave me a few pointers. His wife came over to see the new machine and gave me some more. Even the daughter in North Carolina, calling to find out why I hadn’t emailed, answer- ed more of my questions. Grandson Sammy is coming tomorrow to help me further.
My advice to anyone buying a new computer: be sure to have computer-savvy sons, daughters, daughters-in-law, and grand- children. Don’t spend a lot of time with the User’s Guide.
This is Edith Hunter on the Center Road, trying to write on her new computer.
Writer and historian Edith Hunter lives in Weathersfield Center. She spoke from our studio in Norwich.