Thursday, October 15, 2009

Next Time I'm Buying Him Carbon Paper And White Out. And A Roll Of Stamps. And Maybe A VHS Player.

I recently read THIS. And after reading it, decided to write the very post you're reading now. The idea for the post has been swirling around in my head for some time, but recent events make it relevant now. Read on...

I've been home now for almost two weeks. During this time, I've gotten to hang out with my brother quite a bit, which is almost unheard of. He works, he's got kids, he has a wife. And all you guys out there with wives know what that means. Your life is not your own. They rule you and all of your free time. Kind of like I do with Ed, I guess, except that we're not married.

I'm not saying my brother's wife cracks the whip or anything. I mean, I guess she could be whip cracking, but I really don't know. I've never seen a whip anywhere. And if I do come across one, I don't really think I'll be asking what they use it for. Sometimes there are just things one doesn't need to know.

Anyway...that's not really my point. My point is that I was able to spend a lot of time with my brother and when that happens, it's like I've gotten a whole syringe of happy injected into my brain. This may sound weird, but I can just sit and look at my brother and be happy. I study his face and his stubbly beard and count the gray hairs on the side of his head. I think about how he looks like my father and how his eyebrows are so thick and wiry and wonder how he gets his teeth so white. And listening to him talk, about anything really, just makes my heart want to explode. He's funny and cool and smart and bold and interesting and business-y and just great.

He's also Mr. No.

Do you know Mr. No or anyone like him? He's the guy that says, "Nah, I don't think so." before you even ask him anything. He's the guy who says, "I don't need that." before you explain all the greatness he can experience if only he gave that a chance. He's the guy who when you're telling him about how your best friend just rented a condo on the beach for her family to have a get together and wouldn't it be cool if we did something like it someday.....cuts you off right in the middle to say, "Really?? Nah."

He's the guy who doesn't need an iPod, can't be bothered to learn how to text message and when you tell him to take a picture with his phone and send it to your email, says it's not that important after all for you to see the fabulous thing he just told you about.

So when it came to gifting him with a brand new printer/copier/scanner/fax that he decided not only did he not want, but that he didn't need, I thought I was going to come unglued. Let me tell you what led up to The Gift.

My mother, Ed and I went to Best Buy this week to buy my brother a computer. He currently uses the Tyrannosaurus Rex 3000. It was the premier model in its heydey, but now when you turn it on, pterodactyls fly overhead and the sound of their screeching is enough to make you just want to go back to using pen and paper.

When we got to the store we were told that since Windows 7 is coming out next week, they didn't have any computers available for sale and that we wouldn't be able to buy one until October 22nd. Bummer. What to do? What to do?

Well, we decided we'd just get the printer now and come back for the computer later. We must have spent an hour and a half in the store deciding on which one to get. The sales staff was useless, as usual, so Ed and I compared features and printing speeds and display screens and ease of use and size and ink usage and everything else we needed to check out to get a good one. The main thing to keep in mind was that my caveman brother was going to be using it, so it had to be very user friendly.

Oh, and did I mention that my brother still uses a fax machine? Uh, yeah. So the printer also had to have a fax, which is why we were looking at the printer/scanner/copier/fax model. I've had the same conversation with my brother many times, about why he needs all of these things in one. And it always goes like this:

"Well, you know you can send your client that invoice/estimate/blueprint by just scanning it as a PDF and emailing it to them."

"I don't do email." he says.

"You don't do email?"


"Well, what if someone needs something right away? How do you get it to them?"

"I fax it."

"Well, what if they don't have a fax?" I said.

"I mail it."

"You what?"

"Mail. It. You know, like at the post office." he said.

"You buy stamps?? I mean, buy them and use them??"


"Oh my God."

And every time we have this conversation, I think I'm going to be able to convince him to step into the 21st century. And since Windows 7 is coming out and he needs to replace the T-Rex 3000, I thought this would be the perfect time to sneak in an all-in-one printer thingy.

So we bought it.

But not before checking the return policy.

Ed and I brought it to the house, all excited and child-like, with the extra ink and paper and cool label making machine that came with it practically free, all ready to set it up in his office and liberate him from the three other machines he currently had scattered about his desk space. We took it out of the box, all excited to show him the fancy LED screen and explained how it was color and black and white and how he'd be able to do everything from one machine whether it was print, copy, scan or fax.

His response? "Why do I need this?"

"'s very compact. You can scan anything you want and send it from email. You can fax directly from the machine. You can make copies! You can print. Look! It's even got a tray for 4x6 photo paper for when Pam wants to print pictures of the kids."

"She goes to Walgreen's for that."

"Yeah, but what if she needs one right away?"

"Who needs a picture right away?"

"OK...well, forget about the pictures. You can fax from it!"

"I have a fax machine." Shit. Back to that again.

At this point, Ed had taken my brother's printer, his ancient flatbed scanner and his fax machine (the one with the PHONE attached to it) and piled them on top of one another. And like in a TV commercial, swept his hand over the pile and said, "You can replace alllll of this..." and then pointing to the beautiful, new, shiny all-in-one, "with this."

Nope. Not convinced. He didn't want it. We have lost yet another round.

So, we put it back in the box, retired to the kitchen, scooped out a few bowls of ice cream and while eating it I listened to my brother explain to Ed how he changes the toner cartridge in his copy machine.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Flash Flood
Consider The Source When Getting Advice
Perfectly Apropos For Bush’s Home State
Soul 2 Soul


Leigh Hutchens Burch said...

Your brother reminds me of my grandmother. He sounds wonderfully irritating! At the same time, I know you love him despite his inability to enter the modern world.

That's just the way it is with family.

Unknown said...

I think we all have someone like your brother in our own families. The dent in the wall, where I bang my head repeatedly reminds me of it often.

Gil said...

I can relate to most of that post. The big exception is I always thought that faxes would become extinct with the advent of email. It just blows my mind why the whole idea of faxes still lives on. A year or so ago when my son and his wife were buying their house the broker needed a fax with their signatures. It was the weekend and he was at home with us and I have no fax machine so I told him we'll go to a neighbor's and fax it. No, he dug out an old scanner he had left here scanned the documents and then emailed them. He said if I didn't have the scanner he'd take a picture and email it.

On the plus side for your brother, I seem to remember he is in the building trade, he probably needs a fax because he doesn't always have electronic copies of things or he has things that are impossible to scan?

Diary of Why said...

My ears are burning. :) Ha, this is great. I love hearing other people's frustrating family stories. Makes me feel less alone. :)

Crowebaby said...

16. Are you upset about anything now?
Just that the cat doesn't seem to want to have anything to do with me.

I feel your pain. I raised the damn thing from scratch and all he seems to want to do is curl up next to my boyfriend and scratch the hell out of me when I try to pet him. Ungrateful little shit :p

Is it sad that I care more for what a cat thinks of me than of what people think of me?