22 December 2005

Changing Behavior, Kicking and Screaming

Back pain......almost incapacitating.
Dad was always having back trouble.
One vivid memory is of my Dad on his back on the hardwood floor, Mom standing over him, leaning on his knees as he drew his knees closer to his chest, trying to straighten his vertebra.
Most of the time he got some relief from her efforts.

In 1978 my parents were talking about buying a new mattress.......
Dad was still having back problems, and they thought a new mattress might help him.
I suggested they get a waterbed. They were non-plussed.

Although I didn't own one myself, I had enjoyed sleeping on them and thought the new "fully baffled" waterbeds with their firmer consistency and heater to keep Dad's back warm might help his troubles.

Mom and Dad were suspicious.

We went shopping to see what was available......what they looked like, and what they would cost.
The folks saw they pretty much looked like other beds and weren't prohibitively expensive.
We saw one that I kinda liked myself, so I made the deal-clinching offer:
Buy this bed and try it for a while.
If you decide you hate it, I'll pay for it and use it myself.
The company delivered and set it up the next day.

Two days later my Mom had her first pacemaker installed. When I called to inquire how she was doing post-surgery, she said, "You can just forget about taking this bed!"
Even with the new pacemaker, she was sleeping comfortably.
And it did help Dad's back trouble, too.

Chalk it up to another good recommendation from Greybeard.

Fast forward to about 1998........I'd been online for a few years, talking to Mom and Dad about the wonders and conveniences afforded by computers.
Each time I would talk about getting them a machine they would roll their eyes and smile, shaking their heads......
Too expensive.
Too complicated.
They probably wouldn't be able to figure it out.

I had seen the ads for something called WebTV.
I got online and checked them out. WebTV provided access to the internet, email, and was user friendly to the extreme. I suggested Mom and Dad should get WebTV.
Again, they used delaying tactics on me.

With Dad alongside, I stopped by the local Circuit City and found a WebTV in the store, connected to the internet. There in the store, I entered the address of the website for my personal business. When the site came up, I showed Dad the picture of Sara Jean and I standing next to an R22 I had landed in our back yard. He was amazed. Right here in his home town in the local Circuit City, I had dialed up a picture of his daughter-in-law and his son.
We bought the system and took it home.

Simple to hook up, we turned it on and it did all the work......
found it's own service provider and walked us through the sign-up procedure.

The first thing we did was send out emails to all our relatives announcing Mom and Dad's online "birth".
Next morning, the "you've got mail" red light was blinking on the face of the machine.
Several cousins had written to applaud my parents, and comment that they wished their parents were so open minded!
At that moment, I pretty much knew that I could also forget ever having to worry about disposing of the WebTV.

We all fear change to a degree.
We all have Luddites among our family and friends.
Some still think computers are too complicated for older, "set-in-their-ways" minds.
But I have family I would love to be able to fire off an email to, or send a link to share something I know would bring a smile.

With one much loved Aunt and Uncle, I've even tried the old reliable trick......offering to buy the machine for them.....no dice.
If only they knew what they are missing......Email, Blogs, Google Earth, The Library of Congress at their fingertips.......

Kicking and screaming.........how to get them to give it a try?
I'm out of ideas.
Got a good suggestion?
I'll take all the help I can get.

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