My friend, aged 60+, decided to buy a computer. She had been fearfully using them at work and knew she could do a much better job if she gained more expertise. The day her computer arrived via UPS she called me on the telephone. “It has too many parts. How do I hook it together?”
“Everything is color coded,” I told her, but still she asked me to come and help. I went.
After hooking her computer together and making certain her programs were in operating order, I left her to play, search, and discover. I reminded her that I was as close as her phone should she need anything, then I returned home.
Forty-five minutes later my phone rang. I answered. My friend’s voice came across the line — urgent. Seriously stressed. “When will they be here? How long do I have?”
“When will who what?” I felt like I’d walked into the middle of some suspense theater episode. “Slow down and explain.”
She answered, her voice high and tense, “I don’t know what I did. I tried to open Word and a warning came up on my computer. It said I operated something illegally and my computer was shutting down! When will they be here?”
I did not laugh. Instead I asked — very dryly — ” When will who be there? The computer police?”
Several seconds of silence were followed by her rueful query, “I’m over-reacting, huh?”
Then I laughed.
I told OC the above story over breakfast this morning. He responded very formally, “Really, her reaction was perfectly understandable given the unfortunate use of the word illegal.”
I smiled. “You did the same thing, didn’t you?”
He shrugged sheepishly, “Well, pretty close — but I didn’t call anybody.”
“Besides,” he defended, “Windows should be illegal!”