Sunday, November 27, 2011

Are You Smarter Than A Sixth Grader?

The whole family came in for Thanksgiving this year. It was totally unexpected, as Jay had told us there was no way they could come from New Orleans for the holiday. I believed him. Both boys are in school, Michelle is teaching at John Curtis Christian School this year, and Jay is on the downhill side of his Ph.D. work at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Then there is also the little matter of pastoring a church. It is difficult for them to come home very often, so when he told me they couldn't come this year, I understood.

However, it seems that he and Benji had been conspiring for a couple of months or more to surprise the old folks - and surprise us they did!

So, Thanksgiving morning, about 11:00 AM, I stepped out of the bathroom to find both sons, their wives, and the five grandsons in the family room. (glad I was not in my underwear at the time). What a wonderful blessing it was to have them all here together. It was the first time both of the boys families had been together for a year and a half, and the very first time all five grandsons have been together. Little Nathan (who will be four months old this week) didn't seem real impressed, but he did seem to be interested in all the activities, and the rest of the folks seemed to realize the importance of the day.

It was a pretty emotional time for Linda and I. For the obvious reasons, but also the reminder that it was seven years ago this week that I was hospitalized for the events that revealed I had stage four, incurable colon cancer. With an 18-22 month average survival time for my type of illness, the fact was not lost on me that I was enjoying my fifth "bonus" Thanksgiving - that's a full five years past the time I should have already been in Heaven. I thank God for every day that He gives me.

Well, the gathering was great, and I realized how really quiet it is around here with just me and Linda.

Anyone who regularly reads this blog or my posts on Facebook will realize how proud I am of all my grandsons. Nathan is still working to develop his attributes (although he is obviously gifted!) while each of the other boys are very distinctive from one another. Benji's boys are very athletic and excellent students. Will is on the Academic Team and Asher is a terrific dancer and loves to play around with musical instruments. Jay's sons are both sharp as a tack and musically talented. Both are involved in Scouting, Canon is very creative and Quint (the oldest) is a technilogical whiz! He has had an analytical mind from his earliest age. While most toddlers would play with a car or other toy, Quint would take them apart, and analyze what made them work.

He is a student at Patrick Taylor Academy for Math and Science (a Magnet School in Jefferson Parrish, LA), and even though he is only in the sixth grade, he's got some goals. One evening Jay walked into the house, and found Canon playing with some toys and Quint working on some project on his laptop. "What's the plan?" Jay asked as he often does. Quint quickly replied, "Well, my plan is to go to MIT, but that's all I have right now."

He's not kidding.

While the family was gathered together on Thanksgiving, Linda was aggravated because we were having trouble logging on to the Internet, and our email wasn't coming through. Quint began tinkering with the desktop computer, checking out the modem, and also got Linda's laptop up and running on the Internet. The whole time he was working on my computer, Uncle Benji was flashing me some worried looks, as if to say, "This kid is a sixth grader. Why are you letting him mess with your computer?"

Had it been anyone else, I might have shared the concern, but I have seen Quint in action before, and I knew he knew what he was doing.

Later in the evening, Jay asked, "Isn't that television a High Definition set?" I replied in the affirmative, and that I have the converter box and cables, etc, but when Linda and I had tried to hook the stuff up a couple of months ago, we were unable to get it to work, so I just put the stuff up "until I had time to fool with it, or to get a technician in to set it up". Up to this point, I had not had time, nor had I called the cable company to send someone out to help with my technical disabilities. Furthermore, I had no idea how to program it all and set up one remote to work the TV, Blue Ray box, etc.

As one might imagine, the ridicule was harsh. After everyone getting a good laugh at my expense, Quint asked quietly, "Do you want me to fix it for you, Papaw?"

"Yes", I said. That would be nice.

I provided him with the converter box, remote, and all the spaghetti like cables that Time Warner Cable Company had given me, and he went to work. After about two minutes of setting everything up, cables plugged into all equipment, etc, he asked me a simple question.

"Where is your power cord?"

"Whadda you mean" I replied dully.

"The AC power cord that hooks into the wall receptacle" he said patiently.

"What you're looking at, is what the Cable Company gave me. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less."

"Well, that's one reason it doesn't work. Here is where it plugs into the box, and the other end will plug into the wall." he said quietly.

I was feeling torn between anger for the wretchedly rude woman at the cable company who had told me that the bag of stuff she gave me was all I needed for an "easy quick setup" - and the humbling realization that I was not as smart as a 6th grader.

Benji has the whole set up I had, and it worked fine. "Why didn't you tell me how to set this up?" I asked indignantly. Ben, who teaches High School English, and coaches basketball, simply said, "Because they came and set mine up when we moved in."


Anyhow, that was Thanksgiving evening, so since nothing was open, we all had to suffer the indignity of watching everything in (I guess) low definition - which is apparently how I have watched TV since 1950 and didn't realize the difference. I mean, I was just thrilled to have color TV.

So, on Black Friday, I headed down to the Time Warner office to pick up the power cord that they didn't give me in the first place.

"Why have you waited so long to come get this?" asked the "friendly" lady at the window. "You've had the service for over two months!"

"Because I couldn't figure it out, and my 11 year old grandson lives 960 miles away and this is the first time he's been here to hook it up for me."

With a look of disdain (and perhaps a hint of pity) she handed me the cord and I was on my way back to the house.

The LSU - Arkansas game was just ready for Kick Off, when I arrived, and Jay told Quint to hurry and get it all hooked up.

To make a long story short, he did just that, and we were watching exciting SEC football in High Definition. Between commercial breaks, Quint got all the connections set, programmed the remote to work on all devices we have, and gave me a quick run through of what seemed like several hundred channels, and a "Remote for Idiots" lesson before the game ended and they left for the return trip to New Orleans.

I used to laugh at my Dad, who had 12:00 flashing on his VCR for a couple of years until one of his grandsons got it all fixed up for him.

I'm laughing no more.

1 comment:

P-40 said...

sounds like you guys had a amazing not be so hard on yourself as to all the devices that Quint had to fix for you because the samething happens at our house all the time ...if it was not for Patrick i am not sure anything electrical would work...isn't it amamzing how they just seem to know what the problem is and how to fix it ....enjoy your