My poor dad is as computer illiterate as a 50-year old Mexican immigrant can get. Growing up poor in Mexico, he didn’t have access to much technology. When I started college I bought a PC and he was amazed at what we could do with it. Well, when I got married and moved out, I left him that PC. It was an old Packard Bell with a 133 MHz processor and a 4 GB HDD. (That should tell you how long ago this happened!) I figured he could learn to use it and perhaps become more comfortable with computers. I had no need for it as my wife and I had bought a new one for our apartment.

A couple of weeks after I had moved out I get a phone call from my dad. After the small talk he proceeds to tell me that “I think I broke the computer.” Now, knowing his limited understanding of computers, I figured maybe he had gotten a virus, or forgotten how to open up a program or website he needed so I tried to reassure him. I told him that I would come over and see if I could get him working again. He said, “OK, but I don’t think so. It’s in pretty bad shape.” My mind began to wonder what he meant so I asked him what happened. He said, “Well, I wanted to move it to another room so I started unplugging all the cables. They all came out fine, but the one from the screen seemed stuck. I pulled and pulled as hard as I could and it couldn’t come out of the computer.” It was at this point that the red flags began to rise. Turns out he had no idea that VGA cables screwed into the tower. Somehow, he eventually was able to pull the cable free, along with part of the motherboard.

So yes, he had indeed broken the computer. It was after that incident that I decided to educate him on even the smalles details of a computer.