Computers have taken over our lives and when they don't work there are only two things a guy my age can do: panic and call the kids for help.
If the kids dodge me I call the grandkids.
The other day I decided I needed to update the wireless system at our home. Within minutes I was on the telephone with our son.
Me: "I bought an extender for our router to make the wireless signal go farther. I tried to connect the extender. Now my router won't work, the extender is flashing at me and somehow I've changed the password for my computer and I don't know what it now is. The instructions in the extender box tell me to go online for further information but how can I go online when I don't know the password to use my computer."
Son: "Dad, I pleaded and begged with you not to buy any more stuff at the computer store. I even called and told them not to sell you anything."
Me: "Don't lecture me, I'm not a child."
Son: "They shouldn't sell this high tech stuff to anyone older than 40. What is the name and model number on your router?"
I read it to him.
Son: "That's not your router. That's your modem. The router is the thing with the big sticks coming up out of it."
Me: "Why don't they describe it that way in the instructions? Router, modem, what' the difference."
Son: "Have you called the IT guys at the store?"
Son: "What did they say?"
Me: "Apparently after the last time I contacted them they blocked my phone number from getting through."
Son: "Thatís what I need to do. I knew I should have let your call go to voicemail. I was just going out the door. Have you asked mom for help?"
Me: "When I came home with the extender and told her I was going to install it she said she was going out and I should call her when I was done and she'd come home."
Son: "Dad, that could be never!"
Me: "I am a little concerned about that. Just tell me what to do and get me out of this mess. I need my computer. This is serious. I have important work to do. I haven't been able to read Facebook all day. Your mom is going to beat me at posting new photos of the grandchildren."
Son: "Okay. Don't panic."
Me: "I need to know how many 'likes' I've gotten on my last post."
Son: "Okay. First you need to turn off the new extender, do a restart on your router and then you need to reboot your computer and hit 'command r' when it starts to come back on."
Me: "My boots are in storage until winter."
Son: "Of course you realize while you're cracking jokes and keeping me on the telephone you're keeping me from going out and you're ruining my social life."
Me: "Do you want to hear what you did to my social life?"
Son: "So this is payback? When the computer comes back on there will be several choices. Click on 'utilities' and then click on 'terminal.' A box will appear and in it type 'reset password.' Can you do that?"
Me: "Yes. But it says to reset the password I first have to enter in the old password."
Son: "So do that."
Me: "I told you. I don't know what the old password is. Do you know how many passwords I have for all the stuff I do? I have a password for Facebook and a different one for Twitter. I have passwords for bank accounts, newspaper sites, and golden oldies music. I have a password for iCloud and I don't even know what iCloud does. How am I supposed to keep all the passwords straight? Some need capitals letters and lower case. Others need symbols. When I was a kid in the good old days we didn't need passwords to survive."
Son: "When you were a kid no one had computers, iPads and iPhones."
Me: "We also didn't have air conditioning, FM radio in our cars and frozen pizzas and we didn't need different password to access every aspect of our lives. When babies are born today they shouldn't be given a name. They should be given a nine-character password with at least one upper case letter, at least one number and two symbols separated by at least three characters. You need to get over here and help me right now."
Son: "Dad, I live in Brooklyn."
Me: "Do you remember when I carried you for five hours while we were waiting in line for the monorail after the fireworks at Disney World?"
Son: "Have you tried calling the 1-800 support number for your computer?"
Me: "Yes. They've even blocked my phone calls in India."
Son: "Oh no dad, my cell phone battery is wearing out. It's going to go. We're going to be cut off any second . . ."
The call went dead. Strange. That's the same thing that happened when I called him to figure out how to get the Internet hooked up on my new TV.
I don't know what to do. I'm locked out of my computer because I can't create a new password because I don't know the old password.
I suppose the only thing for me to do to get back on Facebook is go out and buy a new computer that doesn't require an old password to get a new one.
I just hope our son's phone is powered back up by tomorrow. I'm going to need to call him for help setting up the new computer.