If you have horror stories about your parents trying to use a computer, this is the node for you. Here are mine.

Double Clicking: For months, my father could not grasp this concept. After explaining to him at some length about just WHY he had to double click, he spent weeks trying to master this. He'd click once, and then start to move the mouse on the second click. This would drag the icon he was trying to click on slightly, and I'd hear mumbled curses from the other room about the damn icons not staying in the same place.

Advice: Even though my mother knows nothing about computers, and I'm a Computer Science major in college with years of practical hands-on experience, she still tries to tell me how to use and fix my computer. Whenever I try to give her helpful advice if something breaks with her computer or she's trying to do something new, all I get is an earful of, "It's my computer, I'll do what I want." Of course, every time the computer breaks down, she comes running to me to magically fix it without even attempting to deal with it herself.

Learning: I've discussed this at length with my friends, and we've discovered a fundamental difference between how our generation uses new technology and the way that adults do. We go, "Cool! I don't know how to do that. Teach me how to do it?" My parents go, "ACK! I have no idea how to do that! You have to do it for me!" My parents usually won't even attempt to explore the computer or learn to do one damn thing without running to me for help first. Also, on the rare occasions they need to learn how to do something by themselves (usually out of necessity), they write everything down. Everything. The problem with this approach is that they believe every single program or thing they have to do is a totally different process. Ergo, firing up Netscape is radically different for them than firing up Internet Explorer, and thus a seperate and meticulous entry for both of them needs to be written. In doing this, they fail to understand the computer itself and how it really functions.

Getting a Computer In The First Place: For SEVENTEEN YEARS, my parents refused to buy me a computer. I even offered to pay for it with my own money, which I'd been saving up for exactly that purpose, and still they refused. When I actually proved that I NEEDED one to do my college applications and Westinghouse Science Talent Search research project, they finally broke down and graciously let me buy myself a computer. Fast forward one year. The summer before I leave for college, my parents buy themselves a computer so that they can have one when I go to school. They now claim that they couldn't live without one.