Best technological-impairment stories

These are some of my favorite examples of technological impairment from the Parents Just Don’t Understand articles at The best ones are the ones you could never, ever make up.

My mom asked to see my pictures on Facebook. I thought about all the drinking pictures that are on it and then I thought about my mom’s computer skills. So I said, if you can find them by yourself, sure. I came back 5 minutes later and she had an empty Microsoft word document up. I think I’m safe.

Instead of using the kitchen timer option on the microwave to time whatever she’s baking, my Mom turns on the microwave and lets it run for the hour or so she’s baking something.

My girlfriend’s dad typed a huge letter out on the computer. After he was done, he printed it and decided the font was too small, so he erased the whole thing, changed the font size, and retyped it.

My mother claimed she could not read my latest email because her printer was broken.

My dad uses the word “video” every time he searches for something on Youtube.

My dad works from home, and often needs to receive updated blueprints. His office has now given him 2 different computers which I set up, and he refuses to turn on. Instead of including him on emails, they have to print their emails and fax them to him. In an odd twist the younger interns in the office had to spend 8 hours on a training day to learn to use a fax machine.

I sent my father a long Google link to a photo, and he proceeded to print out the actual web address. He thought the printer would “decode the link” and turn it into a photo.

I work in a small computer shop in my town. One day a woman walks in, and tells me she has a problem with her computer, that it has broken. I then ask her the problem and she shows it to me and describes her situation. She told me that she had been online, ordering something off the net, when she had put her card in and it hadn’t done anything, just got stuck. Naturally assuming it was something to do with the machine i start booting it up and examine things, this is when she asks me “can you get the card out first please,” curious i asked what she meant. It had turned out that with her limited computer knowledge that she had managed to go online, start ordering items, get to the checkout and wanting to pay with a credit card, she had push her card into the floppy drive. She never came back to the store, but did have to order a new floppy drive.

My cousin, who is my age, recently found a bunch of pictures of us when we were really little and she told my mom. My mom then called me and said “Leanne found some pictures of you two from a long time ago and is going to tag you on facebook, whatever that means. I guess you’re it.”

I bought my mom a new laptop for her birthday. As I’m showing it to her I explained that she needed a power outlet converter because the cord has the ground plug while none of her outlets have the ground inlet. At this point she stops and looks really confused. When I asked what was wrong she said, “Why do I have to plug it in. I thought it was wireless.” I explained that the wireless part is for the internet, but she needs to plug it in for power and to charge her battery. Her response: “So, what’s the difference between the internet and power?”

While my grandpa went online to manage his bank account, there was a box that read “sign here.” He either scrolled down the screen a few times or there was more than one box…his name and initials were written about three different times on the monitor. In ink.

My mom thought that an iPod worked like a cassette player. When I heard her complain that she had to listen to songs she really didn’t like on her playlist to get to the ones she wanted to hear, I suggested she just take those songs off her playlist. She replied with, “Well then I’ll just have to listen to 3 minutes of silence until the next song comes on.”

You know the little image with the wavy letters that sites use to make sure you’re not a robot? It can also be used to make sure you’re not my mom. I have to fill them out for her.

My dad doesn’t know how to send me e-mails. Instead, he just uses the customization feature on stuff like e-cards. I recently got an e-card of a cute kitten with the message “I transferred $100 into your account”.

Our printer ran out of ink, so my Mom bought a new printer.

My grandma kept complaining about how she couldn’t get her new alarm clock to stop displaying 12:00. I went up to her room and took the sticker off of the display screen.

My high school Spanish teacher, on multiple occasions, has been known to photocopy blank pieces of paper in order to get more blank pieces of paper. She’s completely oblivious to the fact that you can open the copier to take out the paper.

My mom thinks Google’s “Suggestions” are the only options available. If she’s trying to find something and it doesn’t come up in the suggestions, she’ll say, “Sorry, it’s not on the internet.”

My dad called me to ask about removing a virus from his computer. Somewhere in the middle of the instructions, he interrupted me to ask, “Are computer viruses man-made, or are they like real viruses?”

My mom was once using my desktop to check her email while I was away at school. I got a frantic phone call that afternoon because the mouse was at the edge of the mousepad but the “thingy” wasn’t at the edge of the screen.

I had fairly bad eyesight for most of my life, so I ended up getting Lasik eye surgery as soon as I was old enough and had enough money. My mom apparently never heard of this procedure, so she was amazed when I told her about it, and is now always asking me how many fingers she is holding up while she is right in front of me, and if I can see the license plate of cars that are up to a mile away. She also tells all of her friends about my amazing “super laser vision”.

I was watching “Jurassic Park” with my grandmother a few months ago. During one particularly scary moment she leans over to me and, with a very worried tone in her voice, asks, “The Dinosaurs…they’re only for the movie, right, they didn’t breed any extras?”

I was in a very dimly lit restaurant with my parents and I asked my mom what time it was. She took out her brand new iPhone (which has the time displayed in huge digits on the screen) and used it like a flashlight to read the time on her watch.

When my parents got the internet, I spent hours explaining how to type in a web address, but my dad still doesn’t understand that it has to be a real website to work. When I look at the previous addresses they read, “” or “”.

My dad got a cell phone a few months ago, but he never turns it on. He thinks that you get charged for every minute the phone is on.

I told my parents I wanted the new MacBook for school. Two weeks later I received “Macs for Dummies” in the mail.

My parents don’t have a debit card. Anytime they need cash, they make out a check to cash and go into the bank.

My mother has never sent, nor attempted to send me a text message ever before. Earlier today, I inexplicably found this waiting for me on my phone: “We r on ca nif eigh six mail gmom”. Anyone want to take a crack at what she meant to say?

My friend just got a text message from her mom that said: “What day do you come home question mark”

A friend of mine found a cell phone. She called the owner of the phone’s parents to see if they could get the phone back to their daughter. Five minutes after she got off the phone, a text message came through from the girls dad saying “Lizzy, some girl found your phone…call her at ***-***-**** to get your phone back”

I’ve worked at an internet company for about a year. One day, a lady called and told me her computer wouldn’t turn on no matter what she did. I said “Ok, can you look at the back of the computer and make sure the power cable is plugged in.” She responded, “Just give me a second, I have to find a flashlight because the power is out here at my house.”

My 75-year-old grandfather just bought a laptop so he could learn to use the Internet. I got an empty email from him yesterday, and the subject heading was, “Andrew what does it mean when it asks ‘are you sure you want to send an empty message’ when i click on the send button??? —-love grandad”

Every time my dad wants to check his email, he goes to Google, types in, hits search, and clicks on Hotmail. He recently told me he discovered a shortcut&#8212he can just hit “I’m Feeling Lucky.”

My grandma always reminds me to turn my GPS off a few blocks before I get home “so that the man giving me directions doesn’t know where I live.”

Whenever my mom doesn’t feel like answering the phone and lets the machine get it, she makes everyone be really really quiet because she thinks that the person calling can hear us while they’re leaving a message.

My boss thinks that Google is slang for find. Just this week, I’ve heard him tell our interns to google old documents in our file cabinets, google meeting minutes saved on our server, and google some sugar packets for the coffee bar.

Mom’s Text Message: “Can u go 2 niketown to buy a Pacquia shirt 4 dad size lrg? B careful swine flu.”

My mother got my father a GPS for Christmas. He told me the reason why it wasn’t working in the house was because it couldn’t see the stars.

My dad thinks that he can only check an e-mail account on the computer he made it on. Therefore, he checks his work e-mail in his office and his personal e-mail on our house computer. It wouldn’t be that bad, but he works at home and those two computers are about 20 feet apart….

My mom has a contact in her cellphone named “?.akj.e0”

I showed my dad the BustedTee with Mao Tse Tung on it that reads, “LMAO” and he didn’t get it because he doesn’t know what LMAO means. I showed it to my mom, and she didn’t get it because she doesn’t know who Mao Tse Tung is. Which is worse?

My mom just got a Facebook account a few weeks ago and on Valentine’s Day she posted on my wall:”I HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR VD!!!”

My grandma cannot grasp the functional purpose of a thermostat. She cranks it up when its cold, then proceeds to regulate the heat by opening and closing the windows.

I made the mistake of trying to explain Wikipedia to my grandmother. She’s now convinced that anybody can modify any website at will, and she won’t use anymore because she’s worried that vandals will change the temperature on her.

I caught my father on google the other day typing in “show me snow machines”. I later found out that he starts any and all searches with the words “show me”, or “I want to see”.

My mom needed to transfer pictures from her digital camera onto her computer. After a few minutes, she was hopeless and asked me for help. I took out the memory card and put it in the computer. Nothing was on it. I hooked up the camera to the computer, but still, there were no pictures. Finally, I had to ask my mom what she had tried before she asked me for help. She put the camera’s batteries in the mouse.

My professor has tried to show different DVD’s in class for the past 4 weeks. She couldn’t get any of them to work so tonight she decided she was just going to show a VHS tape because “it’s simple and I know how to work it.” It took her 20 minutes to get it to show on the projector. Now she’s trying to turn the volume on. Class ends in 10 minutes.

While my mother was looking over my shoulder at an AIM conversation:
Mom: “What does LMAO mean?”
Me: “It’s an abbreviation”
Mom: “Let’s Make An Omelette”?

A few years ago my mom tried to call my brother and reached his voice mail. She left a 2-minute message calling out for him to pick up the phone, as if it was being played through his speaker phone.

The other day I was at work and an older lady came in and wanted to buy Firefox. I explained to her that Firefox was a free download. I then told her to find it by going to Google and searching for it. She told me, “I don’t have Google; I only have Yahoo.”

I was showing my mom how to get pictures from her camera to her computer. I told her to click on the desktop icon which she clicked once. I told her you have to double-click and she said, “Is that where you click something twice?”

My dad makes the subject for all of his emails “Hi, It’s Mitch.”

My mom sent me an email with the subject as my cell phone number. The email said “Is this a text?”

My mom deleted friends off Facebook in an attempt to free up her hard drive space.

I just saw an old guy working out with a discman inside a fanny pack.

My mom just got a new cell phone. She was setting up her voicemail on it and wanted to see if she did it correctly so she asked me to call her. I called her phone and she picked up so I told her to just let it go to voicemail. She said OK. I called back and she picked up again. This happened two more times until I took the phone away from her.

One time I opened a Firefox window, minimized it to look at something else, and then brought it back up again. My mom freaked out and yelled, “You just wasted twenty dollars!” “Huh?” I eloquently replied. “It costs twenty dollars every time you open up The Internet,” she continued. “Our plan costs twenty dollars.” I assured her that this was a monthly charge, but she remained unconvinced. She demanded that I repay her $20 for “wasting The Internet,” and then reminded me to “turn it off as soon as you’re done with it, we don’t want to use more than we absolutely need.”

I tried to teach my grandmother basic computer skills, but I wasn’t able to get anywhere with her because she kept rotating the mouse on the mouse-pad. She thought you had to steer it like a car when you wanted the pointer to go someplace.

My grandfather literally used the screen as a mousepad because he thought the cursor was controlled by the mouse being on the screen.

My dad has a Zune.

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