While I spend a great deal of time on the computer, I only know enough about it to make it do the handful of things that I use it for. I know how to check my Email, but I always have trouble sending one. I can start up and run the couple of games that I play on it, but always run into some sort of snag when I try to load up something new. I can find my way around blogdom, but am easily stymied by even the simplest of web pages. I can easily say, without any reservation at all, I am a technological boob, and this has gotten me into trouble before.
I had never used a computer before Flannery and I started dating. She grew up with one in front of her as her dad worked for IBM for some twenty odd years. She knew how to use it. She knew how to program it. Hell, she could put one together from a box of four thousand pieces and make the little s.o.b. stand up and howl if she wanted to. It took me three days to figure out that the little switch that had an "O" and an "l" by it was the one to turn it on and off. I even had to ask her why they didn't just label it "off/on" or "power." Then she explained that these were universal emblems for people who don't speak English. Then I had her explain why the keyboard wasn't laid out in alphabetical order. Yes, I am a bit of a dunderhead.
Well, the first year that we were married we both worked for the world's largest photocopier company and one day I was just too sick to go, so I stayed home and she left to bring home the bacon. I moped around the house for most of the day and I just couldn't find anything to distract me from the fact that I felt terrible. Daytime t.v. sucks, we didn't have any movies that I hadn't seen, and I just couldn't concentrate enough to read, so I took a couple of slugs of NyQuil and turned on the computer. This was my first time messing with the thing by myself as I was always afraid that one wrong keystroke would ruin the thing, but being under the influence of a small overdose of cold medicine had emboldened me.
I went to the Internet. I kept hearing what a modern marvel this Internet thing was, and how it was rapidly becoming the grand repository for all of the knowledge that mankind had gathered to date, almost surpassing the Great Library of ancient Egypt. I had also heard that it was overflowing with porn.
So I tightened my robe around me and took a swig of my hot tea and went to see what was out there. I clicked on the little box that was where you typed in what you were looking for and put in every dirty word for anatomy I could think of. Nothing. I tried a different tactic. I typed in the name of an disreputable men's magazine. Aha, results! There on our little twelve inch screen were breasts of a grossly disproportionate size. This was interesting in much the same way as seeing the ocean for the first time. It was very large, made a lot of noise, was fun to dip into, but leaves a very bad taste in your mouth. I was quickly bored and went to seek out something that would really interest me, namely the three hundred page gun catalog from Heckler & Koch. I left the porn website, or so I thought, and began looking at fine, high quality firearms that I would never be able to afford. At the bottom of the page for H & K was a button where you could have them send you this glorious catalog of guns, right to your very door, for five dollars shipping. I poked around a bit until I found the page where you send them your name and address and your credit card number to cover the shipping. I filled it out and sent it off. The screen went blank. So I did it again. Name, address, card number, etc., and sent it off and the screen went blank again. After the third time and I still got the same blank screen, I gave up and took a nap.
At the end of the month when Flannery was doing the bills, she called me over and asked me, point blank, why I had purchased $200 worth of porn time from Hustler, not once, but three times. I didn't have an answer because I was busy wondering why the hell my new gun catalog hadn't come in the mail yet. For a long time I didn't use the computer without supervision, and rightly so.
In the fifth year of our marriage, just after my four years of computer probation were up, I heard of the phenomenon of using Google to find yourself on the web, so I tried it. I put in my name and sent the search engine looking for me, just out of the perverse curiosity of seeing if I was listed and what people were saying about me. It pulled up a long list of names but only one was even close to the way I spell mine. Without really reading the fine print, I clicked on it and as I was waiting for the page to change I noticed that it said, "see SoandSo nude!" The page changed and suddenly I am presented with some young, buff looking Englishman who is obviously displaying himself for the entertainment of the same sex. Now keep in mind, I am using Flannery's work computer and I am doing this at our kitchen table and my pregnent wife and our little girl are in the next room playing. I scramble to close this offending website and as I do, six more of the same ilk, or worse, pop up. I keep clicking on the little x's in the top right hand corner and for every one I close, I get three more. I'm sweating, I'm swearing softly, and the panic of what is going on is really starting to set in as I can hear Flannery grunting as she is struggling to get her distended self off the sofa. I'm clicking at a furious pace but I can't seem to get pictures of young men doing things in the barnyard off the screen. If Flannery sees this, she is going to think that I have gone to play for the other team because she is no longer desireable now because of her present condition. I have spent enough time around pregnent women to know how fragile their ego is at this point.
In a stroke of brilliance I yank the power cord, but it never occured to me the damn thing has a battery. Sure the images fade a bit, but there are still groups of sweaty men rolling around in the hay. I poke the power button and the computer stays on. I hold down the power button until the screen turns a welcome black. I look up to see Flannery over my shoulder and I blanche. "Found some porn have ya?" she says as if she was commenting on the heighth of the corn this time of year. I try to explain, it was a simple mistake I sputter, I was looking for me and this pops up and they just keep coming, I couldn't stop them, Oh God! I don't want a Divorce! She smiles and turns the computer back on and with a couple of clicks turns the pop ups off and then gets a Diet Coke and heads back to the living room without another word.
God Bless her, she is a good ol' girl, in as much as I'm a computer dufus.