2012-12-13 / Lifestyles

No need for rodents

Lois A. Corcoran Lois A. Corcoran Hades officially froze over. My computer-hating mother is online.

Recently, my brother hatched the idea of us pitching in to buy her an iPad. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a wireless device the size of a dinner plate but lots more fun.

The beauty of iPads is their portability. There’s nothing to hook up and no need for rodents. The only equipment users require is their index finger.

Thoughtful as Jim’s plan was, he cited selfish reasons for it. Though my siblings and I email each other regularly, he hoped to include our dear mother in the loop. Whether she wanted it or not.

Knowing her aversion to technical stuff, I initially balked at the suggestion. When computers first came out, mom wouldn’t touch them with a 10-foot mouse. And she writes letters only when she absolutely can’t get out of it. Why then would she want a gadget that sends email?

I might have been right, had the animated games not hooked her, but my niece loaded it with everything from solitaire to hangman. She even added Wheel of Fortune with the same sound effects as the show. All that’s missing is the prize money.

But wait, there’s more! Press a button and a library of classic books appears. Another choice allows her to listen to music while reading. And if she gets the urge to play, she can turn the screen into a piano keyboard. Or split it in two for a duet.

After trying out each of the games, mom boldly tiptoed into email territory. There she found messages with pictures attached from each of her middle-aged kids. Photos of her grandchildren – and grandcats – drew her in like a pencil.

Of course, it’s one thing to read email and another to send it. I prize her first message to me despite the fact that it ended in mid-sentence. Somehow she pressed the “Send” button before she finished typing.

She quickly caught on, though, and before long she wrote, “I’m fast becoming addicted to email.”

Since then, I’ve taught her abbreviations like “LOL,” meaning “laughing out loud” (though no one really does), and introduced her to the wide world of emoticons.

Now that she’s hooked, she checks her inbox first thing each morning. Given her name, we changed the title, and it’s safe to say she treasures her iPat.

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