Dad versus scanner

My dad only ever rings me for one of three reasons:

  1. He’s can’t get hold of mum and is wondering if she’s at my house
  2. He’s enquiring about what I’m planning on having for lunch in case he wants in
  3. He has a technical issue with anything that has a power button

Of his three possible reasons for calling, it’s the last on that list that I dread the most. Today I received a call from Dad that went a little something like this:


Hi Janey, I’m trying to scan something to email. How do I do that?

Um… I’m not sure Dad, I’d probably have to be there to figure it out. Do you have a…


Dad? Hello, Dad are you there?

No reply. I hang up and call him back.


Hey Dad, what happened there?


Okay, well nevermind. So do you have a scanning programme installed on your computer? Because you probably need one of those to make the scanner and computer talk to each other.

I guess so – I’ve done it before, it’s just that I’ve forgotten how I did it. I’m pressing the ‘scan to email’ button, is that right?

That sounds like it could be right – so you’ve opened up the programme and found that button?

I pressed it on the scanner

Right. You usually operate the scanner through the computer, that way you know the two devices are communicating. So you need to find the scanning programme on your computer. 

So I press it in my email?

No. You know how you have little pictures that you click on to get to Word, Excel, your email and the internet?


Well there should be one for your scanner too

What’s it called?

I don’t know Dad, it depends on what programme you have

What programme do I have?

I don’t know Dad

So what am I looking for?

Good question. Something with the word ‘scan’ or ‘scanner’ would be a start

Oh here it is, Windows Fax and Scan… okay, I will just use this

Do you know what you’re doing?

I’ll read the instructions here and it will tell me. I’ll call you back if it doesn’t work

Okay, good luck, bye Dad

The phone hasn’t rung since, so that’s a good sign. Could it be I actually helped my father figure out how to scan a document over the phone? If so then we’re making great progress, because usually our phone calls of this nature end with me saying “Dad I’ll have to have a look next time I’m over”

I guess if this music industry stuff falls over I could get into teaching septuagenerians how to  use their computers. That doesn’t sound frustrating at all.

PS: Joel, if you’re reading this and having a laugh at my expense, bear in mind that you’re off to help your Baba set up his first ever computer tomorrow. So there.

How do I turn it off?

13 thoughts on “Dad versus scanner

  1. Ha ha! Just a thought … when searching for something called ‘scan’, maybe he’s started a full system scan and will call you back soon to say everything is going slower now?

    I know what you mean by phone calls from parents only meaning certain things. The funniest one I had from Dad a few months ago went like this: “Quick, what’s Mum’s date of birth?” Me: “Huh? Surely you know that?” Him: “I know it’s in April sometime, but what day and year? I think she’s younger than me. It’s urgent – someone needs to know right now and I don’t know what to tell him.” That’s 44 years of marriage for you!

  2. OMG, this is me and my mum all the time. The other day I had to do an over the phone wifi set up for the ipad we lent her (because she killed her lap top). But at least we were also succesful! By the way, super glad to see PBTM up and running again! Now I can comment!

  3. I get that with my mum and the internet. It usually goes:

    “Hi darling, my internet’s not working. Why?”

    “I don’t know mum, what’s it not doing?”

    “It cuts out.”

    “Have you tried turning the router on and off?”

    “Yes. Your father can get it in the other room.”

    “Oh. Are you sure you’ve tried the router?”

    “Yes. That’s the thing with the blinky lights, isn’t it?”

    …and so on, and so forth. The thing is, I don’t know how to fix internet connectivity issues any other way than restarting the modem or browser or computer. Though I once managed to fix a problem she had where she’d lost all her menus in her Firefox (on the desktop labelled ‘Internet’) because she’d accidentally pressed a button and didn’t know which one. Turned out it was F11. And I once sorted a website problem for her after determining she was using a version of FF that was about six versions old.

    I can’t wait to see what kind of problems we end up calling our kids with in 40 years.

  4. I reckon they know full well what they’re doing, but they’re just paying us back for all those times we whined incessantly demanding Georgie Pie on the way home from visiting relatives.

    I’m picturing our parents inviting their friends over and putting us on speakerphone while they call with their ‘computer problems’. Meanwhile they’re all knocking back G&Ts and holding their hands over their mouths so we can’t hear them laughing at us down the line.

  5. I think it’s the joys of being remotely technical. I too have the family queries about such IT related issues and mostly manage to resolve or at least deflect them remotely.

    I do like your mental picture there Jane. 😀

  6. I once had to talk my mum through the entire operation of a computer via text. She was at my house while I was at the dentist and needed to go pick my kids up from school but didn’t know where the school was (also notoriously terrible with directions). I figured the easiest way to get her there would be to get her to check google maps. I tend to forget that she doesn’t own a computer or know how to operate one and had to explain how to turn it on, open safari, find google maps, and how to use that. It was quite painful.
    Now I’ve moved near my dad, who is actually quite tech savvy considering he’s 55, and I still get asked to explain things, but it’s more along the lines of “which is the best way to download movies and convert them so I can play them through appleTV on the big screen?”

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