“This thing is a piece of (insert expletive here).”

“Come on, Poppy, Grace is here. She’s only seven.”

“When did we stop going to the theater when we wanted to watch a movie?”

“When we knocked Hitler down, moved to the present day and raised the price from twenty cents to twenty bucks. DVDs make life easier.”

“Not when it doesn’t play.”

“You just have to hit the right buttons.”

“I’m throwing this DVD machine out the window!”

We’ve all had a conversation of this nature with our grandparents. Maybe yours aren’t as colorful as mine, but hey, we’re Italian. Grandparents and technology are like water and electricity: they just don’t mix. When they do meet each other, terrible things occur.

Consider my grandmother. Since we bought our first household desktop in 1994, all she wanted was a computer for her house. Six years passed, full of nagging equivalent to torture not even Jack Bauer could withstand. After we could stand it any longer, we capitulated and, dude, we got her a Dell.

“Right, Nana. Here you go. Email only, ok? Email only.”

This would have worked out just fine if she learned email properly. But alas, it was not to be. Next she needed a printer.

Really, Nana? What kind of top-secret, highly sensitive documents are you working on that you need to print a hard copy? Does the government keep tabs on your activities? You need a backup in case they confiscate your computer and check out everything you bought at Talbots?

Nope. She wanted a printer so she could print out her emails.

That’s right. She wanted to print all her emails so she could read them because, “The screen hurts my eyes after a while.”

My mother almost had a coronary.

But my mother really shouldn’t talk. She’s no computer whiz either. Just as she begrudgingly assisted her mother’s computer woes, so am I obligated by the Fourth Commandment – honor thy mother – to solve hers. Although, I have threatened to let her struggle on her own if she doesn’t stop trying to set me up with “nice boys” she met in church.

The 70s brood is admittedly much more technologically savvy than the Second World War swing dancers. They’ve traded their bellbottoms and long hair for BlackBerrys and laptops. It’s a step forward, but they’re not quite there.

I still love to tease my dad for this text I got when walking into the local Borders to spend his money: “Thanks for all your help on the case. Don’t forget staff meeting at three-thirty. P.S. I think I’m sooooooo cool with this new Blackberry!”

Yes, Dad. You’re sooooo cool. I’m sure the FBI would think I’m really cool too if I showed up at that staff meeting.

At least they’re not using beepers anymore.

Talking to my mother on her cell phone is quite the trying experience.

“HELLO, ROSEMARIE! HOW IS FAIRFIELD? DO YOU LIKE YOUR NEW CLASSES? DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH FOOD?!”

Come on now, Mom. It’s a phone. They had those in your day; the shapes are just different. The mechanics have not changed much. I can hear you if you use your inside voice.

But maybe we shouldn’t be complaining. Sooner than we imagine, our kids will be talking about our incompetence and old gadgets. We’ll feel really old when we say that we remember when iPads first debuted.  We’ll be nostalgic for the days when people still bought the DVD machines and didn’t solely use Netflix.

But don’t worry. Those days are still a ways away. We have a few more years left of being cool.

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