Wit and wisdom about domestic life from Dispatch columnist Joe Blundo.
The nation is polarized, and so is my family. But ours isn't a red-blue split. It's Apple versus Windows.
My wife and I have a 10-year-old Windows PC wheezing toward its last breath. My adult daughter, an Apple adherent, says we're crazy if we don't replace it with one of the company's Mac laptops.
My adult son says there's no reason for us, a pair of computer users with simple needs, to spend what it costs to get an Apple. Now they've taken to saying that whichever computer we choose will prove which child we love more.
So, yes, there is a certain amount of pressure to this decision.
I have made a tentative choice, which will remain a secret here because I don't want geeks sending me letters on why I made the wrong choice.
Besides, the question that interests me more than which kind of computer is better is this one: When should a parent begin taking advice from a child?
On matters of technology, I'd say the sooner the better. My kids, children of the Internet Age, more or less came out the womb knowing more than I do about technology. So I began deferring to them on these matters at, oh, I'd say about age four.
But I maintained the power of the purse. So conversations about technology usually went like this:
"Dad, can we buy a."
"We don't need it."
"You don't even know what it does."
"And let's keep it that way."
Eventually, we'd get one anyway, and while I was struggling to comprehend the owner's manual, the kids would have already hooked it up, explored all its capabilities and announced that we needed $200 worth of upgrades because it had become outdated while they were removing it from the box.
I can think of no other area in which I would readily take advice from children.
Fashion? Kids, especially daughters, are precocious about offering fashion advice. Mine told me to get rid of the moustache at about age three. So far I haven't taken the advice, but I have been considering the matter for the past 17 years.
Finances? I remain the font of wisdom on that, partly because I'm still paying college tuition bills.
Home repairs? That's still my territory, by virtue of having tried and occasionally succeeded at fixing things. But the kids are beginning to offer advice on weights and measures as in, "That's too heavy for you. Don't lift it."
I'm at that dangerous age where I still think things that are too heavy for me are not too heavy for me. Whether I get beyond that age without a ruptured disk remains to be seen.
Somewhere on Google, there surely is an injury calculator that asks you to enter your age, your body-mass index and the weight of the object you intend to lift, then tells you how likely it is that you'll die in the attempt.
I'll have to ask the kids to find it for me.
Joe Blundo's column So to Speak appears in the Life section of The Columbus Dispatch. Visit his blog at Dispatch.com