The iFather

February 21st, 2012  |  by  |  Published in Dad + Gadget = Fail  |  1 Comment

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We moved last month. Did I mention that? Perhaps not. This is the problem with blogging: I want to blog about things that matter to me, but if those things are as time-consuming and life-dredging as the global suck that is moving apartments, then suddenly I don’t have time to blog about it. Even when the move was over, and I did regain some time to write, I still felt spent and a bit too abused by the process to write about it. God forbid real adversity should ever hit this blog. I might not be able to get off the mat to overshare about it.

That said, moving had its advantages. A smaller apartment now means lower rent: who needs space when the kids mainly just wrap their arms around your legs all day anyway? Less moisture in the home: we moved from an apartment that was half in the basement and therefore jungle-dank, which isn’t that much fun even in a jungle. More light: we are now on the 21st floor, which means we are practically assaulted by the sun (haven’t bought curtains yet). Also, it means that we may not survive a loss of electricity, as we have become weird pod-people who must take an elevator whenever we step out of our door.

The biggest advantage, though, is the opportunity to de-clutter, specifically when it comes to electronics. Over the past six years and through two previous moves, I’ve been accumulating a mass of retro electronic parts. Not original-packaging-Atari-retro. Nothing that I can sell on eBay. Just things like a 12-foot IEEE 1284 Parallel Printer Cable from the days before USB ruled the earth. Or my first personal data assistant, a battered Handspring Visor (with stylus!) from the early aughts.

Now I’m losing the junk and detritus. Technology in general in simplifying: instead of having a cable box (and cable bill), we watch shows over the Internet. Instead of the Handspring Visor, my PDA is now my phone, which is also my camera. It’s the world as Steve Jobs (PBUH) wanted it.

Not that there isn’t a little bit of nostalgia for all those wires and clunky gadgets. You see, I am the I.T. guy of our little domestic corporation. And as any good I.T. guy knows, the secret to impressing your boss (in this case, my wife and occasionally my child) is to make your job look harder than it actually is. Those gadgets and wires, the cables that would fit into certain ports but not others: those all made even something basic like hooking a printer to a computer look baroque, complex. Trying something truly ambitious, like manually swapping out a graphics card on my PC, made me feel like I had just changed the transmission on a muscle car.

Alas, as with cars, which are now diagnosed through a process of one computer reading another, the physicality has all but vanished from being the I.T. guy. So I am changing my tactics. I am learning to exult in completing the automated setup dialogue. I can still hoard information to maintain my I.T. monopoly. That is, our television may now be light enough that my wife can pick it up, but I am still valuable because I alone have the passcodes that let the television communicate with its remote and with the internet and quite possibly (though I haven’t verified this) with the microwave and hair dryer. I volunteer to connect all of her gadgets for her, so that the process stays opaque. Consumer electronics are getting easier, more integrated, more compatible. But I am pretending, in front of my wife at least, that this is not so.

Behold the iFather: frailer, perhaps, than his forefathers, and with shamefully softer hands, but every bit as adept at conniving to defend his territory.


  1. UJ says:

    February 21st, 2012at 7:49 pm(#)

    Laughing at pod people my friend, but climbing 21 floors…that may take me 3 days.

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