I was teaching my mother how to text.

Easy for you, deeficult for me.

That’s Senor Wences. If you’re in the neighborhood of sixty and used to see him on Ed Sullivan. He talked with his hand. Felice replicates the fingers and the voice and it freaks me out.

And that was a long time ago. We had telephones, but no call waiting. Certainly no cable. And definitely no computers.

Computers were of the future.

But then the future arrived. We didn’t get the flying cars, but we did get the power of the universe in our own little hands.

So my mother has an iPhone.

And in a month, she’ll be 87.

You’ve got no idea what it’s like teaching an old dog new tricks.

My nephew, the computer genius, has no patience. He knows how to do it, but not how to teach it. I’ve got more patience, but you need a lot.

What youngsters take for granted baffles oldsters.

But how cool would it be able to text Muggs?

That’s my mother. That’s her college nickname. Her real name is Muriel, but my father only used that occasionally, it’s on her driver’s license but she no longer drives and I haven’t heard her called that this century.

So we’re doing Thanksgivingkuh at my sister’s house. In the West Valley.

How do you describe the West Valley to someone not L.A. savvy?

It’s the burbs. It’s where you move when you see no need to go out every weekend, no need to be in the heart of the action.

We passed that point long ago.

As well as the need to go to the movies.

That’s what the Grey Panthers do, go to the movies. But the discussion at the dinner table was all TV. Of which there is too much good stuff. I read an essay in the “New York Times” which posited we should pay producers not to make shows, along the lines of farm supports. Just like there’s too much food, there’s too much good TV. When are we going to catch up on it!

So I got my mother to watch “House of Cards,” which she did on her iPad, but she barely turns on her TV. She’s a parent of the sixties. That’s the idiot box.

But after pulling up a video on YouTube to show the assembled multitude, about millennials, I love it, especially when the girl says she’s gonna call her parents, that’s what millennials do so much that drives me crazy, they’re attached at the hip to their parents, my mother sent me to college and disappeared, went to Europe, literally, I noticed my mother was on her iPhone.

What’s she doing?

Deleting mail.

But she couldn’t figure out the error message.

So I asked for her handset and noticed she was in the Trash, that she couldn’t see the rest of her e-mail because she was outside the Inbox.

And when I brought her back, showing her her messages were still there, she said she needed a tutorial, she needed to know how to use the iPhone, so I decided to teach her to text.

That’s how young kids communicate these days, e-mail is passe, and I’m thinking if I teach my mother how to text, I don’t have to worry about her seeing e-mail, since she only jumps on the computer once a day.

Of course she could read it on her iPhone, but that never seems to happen.

First, where is the icon?

That’s what I love about oldsters’ devices. The display of the icons. She’s only got three on the bottom, the green Messages icon is nowhere to be seen. I have to retrieve it.

And then I send her a text and she doesn’t get it…she doesn’t know where to look!

So not only do I have to teach her how to text, I first have to teach her how to find the text.

Which I eventually do, and we’re going back and forth, slowly, and she’s sending me incomprehensible messages.

She’s tapping the letters. And the misspellings are so grievous I’ve got no idea what she’s saying.

I point out the backspace key. But how to correct what’s there already?

Well, you put your finger on the screen until a magnifying glass appears.

That’s way too much information.

So then I decide to teach her how to take a photo.

She’s stunned when it works.

It’s so rewarding, for me, not only her.

But will any of it stick?

I don’t know.


“Millennials in the Workplace Training Video”

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