If you’re anything like me, this past couple of years has given you a lot of jobs you never asked for: I became a therapist to my burned-out coworkers and a teacher’s assistant for my Zoom-schooled children. But perhaps the most futile—and most adorably hilarious—responsibility imposed on me this year was teaching my tech-challenged parents how to use FaceTime.
Fellow millennials, take heed of my annotated field notes. These are just a few things you might overhear while teaching your boomer parents the confusing art of video calling.
1. First comes denial
MOM: “David, really, we don’t need a FaceTime lesson. We know how it works. We do it with your cousin all the time.”
DAD: “David, for the last time: your mother and I already KNOW what FaceTime is. I don’t get what you’re trying to do here.”
Sigh… not what you want to hear after driving three hours, getting all the devices set up in your parents’ basement, and committing your whole Saturday to getting them online.
2. Be prepared for pushback
MOM: “David, I think YOU’RE confused. Are you sure YOU know what FaceTime is?”
DAD: “Son, that’s a dehumidifier? Not a FaceTime? What is this all about?”
Umm, yes, you heard that right. My dad literally called it “a FaceTime.” Adorable. Talk about a #technologyfacepalm!
3. You’ll have to repeat yourself over and over
MOM: “David, please—this whole ‘teach us FaceTime’ thing makes no sense. ENOUGH with the dehumidifier. Yes, it’s great. It’s powerful—very nice… Can we go upstairs now?”
DAD: “Jesus, I heard you the last ten times! Yes—I see the LED says it’s at forty-five percent, that’s fine? But what are we doing down here? Son, it’s a dehumidifier, so what? Why are you staring at us like that?”
Remember to be patient. As millennials, we grew up with every piece of technology at our fingertips, so what is super obvious to you may be confusing (but endearingly hilarious) to your struggling parents.
4. Parents and tech jargon don’t mix,
even if you write it down for them
MOM: (reading from the Post-it note reminder I prepared for her) “… You want me to read this? What on Earth?… ‘EVAPORATOR COIL TECHNOLOGY IS G0D TO US NOW. DEHUMIDIFIER IS THE SON AND THE MOTHER AND THE G0D INSIDE ABOVE AND OUTSIDE. WATER FROM THE AIR INTO THE TRAY. WATER FROM THE TRAY INTO THE MOUTH. ONLY THEN THE G0D CYCLE IS DONE. DRINK DEHUMIDIFIER WATER FOR SACRAMENT TO BE RESTORED PLEASE REACH FINAL PURITY.’… David, seriously this is scaring me. What the hell is this?”
DAD: “Son, I’ve had it. Enough is enough. You’re upsetting your mother. Why are your pupils so big? I don’t know what this is between you and this dehumidifier, but we’re going upstairs NOW!”
If your old-school parents are anything like mine, good LUCK trying to make any of this stick. To them, it all sounds like gibberish!
5. If all else fails, cut your losses
MOM: “David?? David?! David, wake up! Chris, his eyes are rolled all the way back. Jesus, lift him up. Is that a tattoo on his back?”
DAD: (reading the long, dense screed tattooed onto my naked writhing body): “What the hell… honey, it IS a tattoo. I think… What does it say?… ‘BASEMENT AIR PURE. BASEMENT AIR WATER MUST GO INTO THE DEHUMIDIFIER. COILS ARE THE G0D. WATER TO THE TRAY. PARENTS DRINK THE WATER. BECOME PURE MOM-G0D-DAD-G0D. PARENTS PURE FOREVER, FILLED WITH PURE PISS. PARENTS MUST PISS INTO THE BASEMENT AIR. AIR GETS WET AGAIN FOR G0D CYCLE TO COMPLETE. MAKE DEHUMIDIFIER JOYOUS BRINGS PEACE’… Jesus Christ, DAVID!! DAVID, WAKE UP!!!! Jane, help me lift him, Jane, please! We have to get him to the hospital now. GET THE CAR.”
So, um… yeah. No matter how hard they try, boomer parents seem to always end up failing pretty hilariously when it comes to technology. But don’t worry, Mom and Dad—we love you anyway!