Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: COMPUTER (05/19/16)
TITLE: Dad's Computer Allergy
By Nicki Jeffery
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This is a sickness not discernible to the human eye. It is subtle. It is rare. It is not genetic. Age is not the cause, although it seems to have something to do with it. I am talking about my Dad’s computer allergy.
When Mum first unpacked the massive box and hefted out the monitor, Dad did not lift a finger to help. He didn’t want to know about the mother board. Years later, he has never touched the keyboard of Mum’s new laptop with a single finger.
From Dad’s storytelling, I can picture him pushing toy trucks with his brother over the red dirt of the farm. I can see him watching in awe as his father and his uncles built the homestead. Then helping Uncle Merv erect sheds for other farmers as an adolescent.
Dad was fourteen when he left school to farm fulltime with his father. Dad had a passion for sheep work. He was the shepherd and Grandad was the grazier. Dad always radiated excitement when shearing time was upon us. He expertly threw fleeces on the skirting table, stray pieces of fluffy wool floating like feathers to the wooden floor below. He classed his own wool, and pressed each bale manually.
Other farmers in the district began to spend large amounts of time on computers. Not Dad. He gave me a clipboard and a piece of paper. He sharpened a pencil with his pocket knife and drew up columns freehand. I sat on an old, rusty Castrol drum recording tag numbers and weights for the flock. Rather than using electronic scales, Dad hoisted each sheep up on his old fashioned scales.
Dad was greatly admired in the district. With his kind temperament and multi-skilled persona, he could do anything. Building, motorbike riding and mechanics, gardening, shooting, water-skiing, fixing things and playing guitar. He was practical and loved the great outdoors.
When video players made their first appearance in the shops, Dad was not interested. But he relented. We started recording movies from television, and purchasing movies on video cassette tapes. When play stations became popular, Dad was not interested. He did not relent. The only occasions we played Mario Brothers games were at friends’ houses. And when computers gained momentum, Dad was not interested. But he let Mum buy one.
Mum started keeping the books for the farm on her computer. Dad kept out of it. Mum started sending emails. Dad kept out of it. Mum looked up motorbikes on the internet for Dad. Dad peaked over her shoulder. But he has still never touched the keyboard with a single finger. Mum opened a Facebook account. Dad shrugged and settled into his recliner with the local newspaper.
Dad’s computer allergy has not eased with time. There doesn’t seem to be a cure. No medication to ease the symptoms. He still gets a headache at the thought of using one for the first time.
Like many seniors today, Dad made it through his entire schooling and half of his adult life to date without computers. He likes the way things were. Now a retired farmer, he can be seen whizzing by on his motorbike and side car with Mum as his passenger. He leads church services and reads jokes out of his favourite magazines and devotionals, the pages of which have yellowed with age. He tinkers away fixing motorbikes in his shed. He loves the simple life.
Acts 17:26 AMP says, “And He made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes).”
Was it a mistake that Dad is living in this new technological age, yet not really engaging with it? Or is he more engaged in what really matters? Sunshine, hobbies, people and fellowship? The next verse reads, “So that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:27 AMP
Is Dad really stuck in a bygone era? Or is he reminding us of the values of that bygone era?
As I type this on my computer, I smile. Where would I be without my computer? But who and where would I be without my dear Dad?
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