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My Dad Gets Schooled in Facebook

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Returning guest blogger Heather lives outside of Denver with her sons who are five and two-and a-half. When not blogging at A Mama’s Blog, Heather is an almost full-time stay-at-home mama, who works part-time as an office administrator. Heather enjoys blogging about daily life with her sons, pregnancy and birth, and everyday life as a mother. In her spare time Heather enjoys spending time with her family in Denver, catching up with her friends, attending Mom’s nights out whenever possible, reading, and exercising.

My dad is a Baby Boomer. He is going to be 60 in a few short weeks. I love him to death, but he is not–shall we say–very fast to embrace technology.

He loves to take pictures. For years, my siblings and I encouraged him to get a digital camera. We told him how much he would love to be able to see his pictures right away instead of having to take all 24 pictures on his 35mm film and then wait for it to be developed. Nope–he was having none of that. Finally, my step-mom bought him one about two years ago, and as we told him, he LOVES it. He laughs about it now, wonders why he waited so long to go digital.

He does have a computer, but I suspect that was my step-mom’s doing too. Every now and then he will tell me something like, “I got on the computer, and looked up that Google….wow, you can find a lot of stuff there.” Usually at this point, I use our standard teasing line with him, “Welcome to <whatever year it happens to be>, Mr. Banks.” We took that from Father of the Bride, when Steven Martin’s character (George Banks) is in shock over how much the wedding was costing and Franck, the wedding coordinator, laughs at him and says, “Welcome to the 90’s Mr. Banks.” (This line occurs right around the 3:40 mark)

Yes, my dad is the Mr. Banks of technology. He knows it exists but that’s where it ends. Last night, while we were visiting with our out-of-town cousin (Peter) and his girlfriend (Megan), my sister, Mara, decided to show my dad Facebook on her laptop. It went like this:

Mara (opening her laptop): So Dad, this is Facebook.
Dad: Face-what?
Mara: Facebook
Megan: It is a social-networking site.
Dad (already lost–has that deer-in-headlights look)
Mara (pulling up her profile page): This is my–
Dad (cutting her off): Hey, that’s your picture. That is a nice picture of you.
Mara: Thanks–so this is my page, and here I can check my news feed and see what my friends are doing. They write updates, and then I can see what they are up to.
Dad (looking disgusted): Why in the world would you want to post what you are doing?
Me: Because it is interesting.
Dad: Why don’t you just pick up the phone and call them?
Me: Because people are busy.
Mara: Yes, remember my friend, Ellen, (name has been changed) from high school– well here she is.
Dad (putting on his glasses so he can see the tiny profile picture): Oh yes, I remember her. That is a nice picture of her. What is she up to?
Mara: You just have to read her update–and it says she put her son to bed and she is going to watch a movie.
Dad: Why do you need to know that?
Mara: I don’t need to know it, but now I know what she is doing.
Dad (looking confused): Is this like Big Brother?
Me: No–but it’s almost midnight- you would never pick up the phone and call someone this late, just to see what they are doing. But when they post it on Facebook, now you know. It helps you stay in touch with your friends.
Dad: I call my friends–I don’t call them at midnight, but I don’t need to know they are watching a movie.
Mara: Look here, Caroline, (our other cousin who was not visiting us), made stroganoff for dinner.
Dad: Really? How do you know that?
Me: Because she posted it on her page.
Mara: Yes, and Heather wrote her back and told her we missed her and hope she could come visit us soon.
Dad (reading this exchange): How did Heather get a computer to write her back?
Me: I sent it from my phone.
Dad: WHAT?! You can send this to your phone–so is this like a video game then?
Everyone in the room laughing: No, it is not a video game.
Dad: These are your characters–in your world–you control them?
Mara (because everyone else was still laughing): Dad, these are real people. Look- here is Maggie (another high school friend). Remember her?
Dad: Yes, I remember her. That is a nice picture of her. Where does she live?
Mara: About 10 minutes from here. We became reacquainted again on Facebook.
Dad: When did you last see her?
Mara: Last week.
Dad: Does she have any kids?
Mara: Yes, and I can show you the pictures of her kids.
Dad (looking at the pictures): Well, they are cute kids.
Me: See how nice it is–you don’t have to wait for your friend to send you a picture–you can just look at it. A few weeks ago, when I was having a bad day, I posted on my update I was having a hard time, and a lot of friends wrote back, just saying hang in there. It was nice. I would have never had been able to call that many people. But with a few sentences, you can update all your friends.
Dad (thinking): Well, pen and paper work just fine for me. When I want to write a letter, I don’t need a computer or a phone–I just get my pen and paper. I don’t need Spacebook.
All nine people in room, crumbling into laughter: Spacebook…
Mara and I: Welcome to the 09’s Mr. Banks!

My dad is wonderful and is a good sport. If he ever decides to join Spacebook, I’ll let you know. 🙂

Are your parents on any social networking sites like Facebook?

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson March 27, 2009

    This could soooooo be my mother. The funny thing is that my dad even bought her a laptop. I don’t think she’s ever actually turned it on by herself. 🙂

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson March 27, 2009

    P.S. “Spacebook?” Classic!

  • comment avatar Carol March 27, 2009

    My mother-in-law completely embraces technology and has her own facebook site. It amused all of her grandchildren! 🙂

    My mom? She’s not quite as tech-savvy however she has ebay down like a champ!

  • comment avatar Momma, The Casual Perfectionist March 27, 2009

    This post is hilarious!!

    My mom is really good about asking questions and writing down the answers on how to do things in her little spiral notebook that she keeps by the computer.

    My hubby’s parents, on the other hand, are exasperating. They ask the same questions, over and over, because they don’t remember and they don’t write down the answers.

    If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a question start out with, “You know the TV part of the computer? [the monitor?] Well, that little picture of the square thing in the corner of that? [a file icon?] It’s gone… [awesome]”, I’d be rich.

    He won’t answer their tech support calls. He’s more than qualified, but he doesn’t have the patience. I spend my days with a preschooler, so I’m a little better equipped to handle their questions.

    Don’t get me wrong…I love them dearly! 🙂

  • comment avatar Jenna Hallock March 27, 2009

    I don’t push the technology with my dad. I’m absolutely positive the first day would end with him taking apart the computer, trying to figure out why it won’t do what EXACTLY what he wants it to do. Or perhaps more likely, he’d just throw it at a wall and be done with the whole thing (seriously).

    My mom on the other hand was in software development and is on the computer all the time.

    They’re a match made in technology heaven… or maybe south of there.

  • comment avatar Lori in Denver March 27, 2009

    I am SO sending this to my own dad.

    I doubt, however, that he will comment!

  • comment avatar Amamasblog March 27, 2009

    It is funny to hear all the stories of other people’s parents and technology too. I wonder what technology my kids will have when I am in my sixties. I just hope my sons won’t blog about it. 🙂

  • comment avatar Chris Dessi March 27, 2009

    LOVE IT! Hysterical!

  • comment avatar Born2Shop March 27, 2009

    This was just too funny! Thanks for sharing it made me laugh so hard, because you nailed it right on the head. My parents are pretty Computer-Savy, but my Nana can barely work an ATM by herself and yet, she lives on the computer even though she can’t figure out the darn thing and calls both my Mom and I to walk her through things STEP-BY-STEP! lol She thinks I’m SOO clever because I helped her change her font style!! hehehe…oh, bless her heart! Great story, Heather!

  • comment avatar Melissa March 28, 2009

    This sounds exactly like my dad. He would be having none of it.

  • comment avatar Jesse March 28, 2009

    Nice. Both my Grandma’s are on Facebook – but my both my Grandpa’s are going take some time.

  • comment avatar Jess March 29, 2009

    This post his hilarious! It’s like my dad thinking everything ever done online is a blog and must be downloaded.

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