Hey Dad, will you please print this out for Mom? Thanks.
I remember the first time I fired up Netscape on a computer in the library of the law firm I had just started working at in 1995. I think I went to Yahoo and clicked on some things, and called it a day. For the next year the Internet was mostly about receiving and forwarding email jokes. Some of my friends were really excited about being joke “hubs.”
Thank God that’s all history. Jokes are rarely forwarded by email any more. It’s been replaced with spam.
Anyway, back to my mom, who occasionally shows up here in a cameo appearance. Until this year the Internet was a theoretical thing for my mother. If she needed something from it she’d use a verbal query, something like “Jack (my dad), will you look up Oprah Winfrey’s tv schedule for me?” Or whatever. If I wanted to send her an email I’d send it to my dad and he’d print it out for her and then type back whatever she said after reading it.
I honestly considered getting her one of those ridiculous Presto printers. Instead I bought her an iMac and my dad showed her how to do email. She’s now proudly in control of a very nice comcast.net email address.
And since then, for months and months now, I receive an email a day from my mom with a 1995-era joke, usually of the sickeningly cute variety. Or an email admonishing me to “be nicer to people in your posts.” Like these (all actual emails from my mom):
Of course I’ve shared this with the TechCrunch team internally as a sort of cathartic exercise. Apparently I’m not the only one with relatives living in another era:
What to do? Never let her find out about Twitter and Facebook, that’s what. I love you, Mom, I really do. I’ve never once hit “report spam” on one of your emails, and I save them all. Just…please…stop.