If there’s one thing that makes my son question the meaning of life, it’s me asking him for computer help. Imagine asking a NASA engineer to troubleshoot a toaster—now you have a rough idea of our tech support sessions. Take the other day, for instance, I’d just finished writing an article when I realized that somehow, a blank page had been inserted halfway through my story.

I assumed there was an easy solution—just hit a couple of buttons and the unwanted page would magically disappear. But, as usual, my lack of tech-savvy meant this was not a quick fix. I hit every key, scrolled through all the menus, and watched enough YouTube tutorials to earn an honorary degree in computer science, but the page still sat there, mocking me.

It was time to bring in my support team, my geek squad. Normally, I ask my grandkids for technical assistance, because not only do they have the patience of saints when dealing with their dear old grandma, but they also have the tech skills of Silicon Valley prodigies. However, on this particular day, they were in school, and like most seniors, I wanted help now, if not sooner. Who was I going to call? Steven, of course. He could save my day, and I could probably ruin his. I knew he was up to his ears with jobs at work, but really, I would only take a few minutes of his time.

The following accurately describes what took place, with Steven playing the long-suffering tech guru and me, the clueless user.

The telephone rings.

“Hi, Mom.”

“Steven, have you got a couple of minutes?”

“Well, I’m kind of busy. What’s up?”

“This stupid Word program on my computer won’t let me delete a blank page. Why isn’t there a ‘delete page’ button?”

“I really don’t have time for this, Mom. Can it wait until the weekend?”

“No. It will only take a couple of minutes.”

I could hear a tired, impatient tone in his voice. You see, we had done this computer-help dance before, and the results weren’t pretty.

“I’ll need to see your computer screen. Phone me back using FaceTime,” he sighed, his voice already tinged with resignation.

And so, the tango began.

His instructions were clear and precise which should have made this task quick, easy and enjoyable, but alas, he was dealing with his mother.

“Now hold your phone, so I can see your screen.”

“Mom, I’m looking up your nose. Flip the camera around.”

“No need to swear, Mom. See the little camera icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your picture. Click on that.”

“Good, now aim your camera at the screen. Not that way. Move closer so I can see the top menu choices.”

“Calm down, Mom. Yes, I know a bunch of idiots wrote this program, but just relax.”

“Now move the cursor up to the menu at the top of the page. Mom, I can’t see your screen. Move the phone.” His voice was composed, controlled, and I knew he was hoping someone would just shoot him and end his torture. But we carried on.

“Ok, now go to your blank page and click on it. That’s right.”

“Now, move the cursor to Home and click there. Click, Mom. Listen to me, Mom, CLICK—it’s a one-finger click. Nooo, it doesn’t matter which finger you use.”

I could almost feel the vibrations as I visualized him banging his head against his desk. He continued, slowly and with great restraint.

“Now to the right of Home, do you see a little box with a backward P in it? No, no, not there. Do you see the word, View? Just down from it and across two boxes to the right. Backward P, Mom. The backward P. Click on that.”

“What do you mean, your cursor disappeared? Trust me, Mom, it will come back. Just move the mouse. You’re getting all worked up, Mom. Just move the damn mouse!”

And so, an excruciating few minutes followed, with a very flustered me, cursor in hand, and a son who was silently cursing. The blank page finally disappeared, and with it, my tech troubles for the day. It had only taken ten agonizing minutes to fix this ten-second problem.

Steven went back to work, realizing that whatever life and death situations he might encounter for the remainder of the day, none would even come close to the stress he had just experienced helping his mother. And me? Well, I learned a valuable lesson: always call the grandkids first.