Yesterday, I taught my dad how to copy and paste. Not Ctrl C, Ctrl V copy paste, but the simple ability to copy a bit of text from somewhere, and transfer it somewhere else, which is something we all take for granted.
We’re currently changing energy providers, and as part of the switchover, my dad was e-mailed a link to a snazzy portal where he can log in and check his new bills from New Energy Provider PLC. The problem started when my dad had to take a reference number from the e-mail sent to him, and transfer it to aforementioned snazzy portal.
Fumble fumble, ruffle ruffle, went the clutter on my desk as my dad searched for a piece of paper and a pen. Considering how messy I can be, this was no small feat. I soon realised what dad was up to, and looked up from my book to see what the tumult was about. When I enquired as to what was going on, he asked me if I had a piece of paper where he could jot something down; something which he had in his e-mail, and which he wanted to put somewhere else.
I sat up, and got my dad to dig out the e-mail with the number he was searching for. Highlight the text you want to move, right click, then left click ‘Copy’. After then getting him to switch tabs (again, no small feat) to his portal login, I instructed him to right click inside the box where he wanted the text moved, then right click, then left click ‘Paste’.
That was when I saw it. Dad sat back, and his eyes widened, as his brain registered what he’d just achieved. “This is wonderful stuff,” he said. That was all he had to say.
My parents are quite a bit older than the parents of most other people my age. They’re not tremendously computer literate, which I think is partly why I developed something of an aptitude for computers and other systems/machines, after I was given a computer at the age of 11. I didn’t have anyone to show me how to use it, so I just had to figure it out myself. Still, ignoring all of that, just to see someone’s face light up like that was very humbling, especially a parent. Whoever you are, chances are your parents kicked considerable amounts of arse to provide you with what you have today. I know mine did.
Even as I write this now, I find it somewhat startling the number of things we take for granted, daily. Things that people weren’t able to do ten, or twenty years ago, or things that weren’t even possible thirty years ago. Things like moving a bit of text from one document on a computer, to another. It’s so easy to get lost in it all, and realise that for some, the world can be an expansive, confusing, and sometimes scary place. Then again, it must be wonderful to have so much yet to discover, and to feel that feeling of doing something you’ve never done before. I feel it less and less as I get older, but for older generations, it must be the other way around, surely?