Southern Voices, Southern Voices: When the World Goes ‘Zoom’
Posted February 3, 2021
By Michael DeWitt, Jr.
I once thought that the world would end in a “boom,” but nowadays I fear we will all perish in a “Zoom.”
A Zoom meeting,that is. With every boss, supervisor, mid-level manager and consultant in the company staring us in the face and watching us suffer. (Except for me, of course. I love my company and thoroughly enjoy all of our chats. Wink, Wink.)
We currently live in a world of masked social distance, even in the classrooms. With the increased need for virtual K-12 education through such apps as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, our teachers, principals and other education professionals are invited over the high-speed, fiber optic, Wi-Fi airwaves into our homes several days a week. Sometimes they see and hear things that aren’t exactly on the syllabus.
Perhaps the best way to tell you this story is through the eyes of the public school teachers that are dealing with my family on the other side of the Internet:
Third Grade Kid [raising his hand]: “I know the answer. I know!”
Teacher: “Go ahead and tell us.”
Kid: (gives correct answer.)
Teacher: “That’s right son, very good. But you aren’t one of my students. I’m afraid you are logged in to the wrong Zoom class. The good news is, now we know you can do fifth grade work.”
Dad (kind of loudly, as he walks into the room while kids are doing virtual school): “I don’t think any of these kids know what the hell they are doing on these computers.”
Mom (angrily and even louder than her husband): “You are in here cursing and you know everyone in class can hear you, right? Jackass!”
Grandma: (after struggling for 55 minutes to get her grandchild’s microphone and webcam to work so he can participate in class discussions): “That’s it! I’ve had enough of this stupid computer device!” (Pulls at her hair and beats on the tablet’s keyboard.) “If I could wrap my hands around that teacher’s neck I’d strangle that heifer!”
Teacher (coldly and snidely): “Whatever you just did with your microphone, it’s working now, Mrs. DeWitt. I can hear you just fine.”
Grandpa (walks by as the grandchild is on the computer, unfastening his overalls as he heads toward the bathroom): “I’ll sure be glad when all this virtual nonsense is over.”
Grandkid: “Me too, Pop.”
Teacher: “Logan, can you please tell your grandfather that we can see him and he needs to close the bathroom door.”
Third Person Narrator (in a deep theatrical voice): “No one will be happier when this ‘virtual nonsense’ is over than the teachers. No one wants to see Grandpa on the toilet with his overalls around his ankles.”
Dad (walks into the room to find a kid in his underwear holding a laptop): “What the heck are you doing, kid?”
Kid (squirming): “Can’t talk now, Dad. Gotta poop!””
Dad: “Aren’t you in the middle of class?”
Kid: (squirming even more): “Yeah, but they can’t hear me or see me.”
Narrator: “This is one of those life moments that test a Dad’s character, maturity and parenting skills. Sure, the little boy inside Old Dad was thinking just how hilarious it would be to go poop during the middle of math class, and the teacher would never know. Then the kid could brag to all of his friends and become a Math Class Legend. However, Dad was married to Mom, and he had learned a long time ago that if he found something amusing, it was probably the wrong thing to do. So Dad takes the high road.”
Dad: “What if something goes wrong and suddenly the class can see you? Or almost as bad, what if they can hear you? You would forever be known as the kid who was sitting on the toilet in Math Class. It’s probably a bad idea.”
Teacher’s voice on the computer: “I agree, Mr. DeWitt. It’s a very bad idea.”
In the words of Robert Frost: “Some say the world will end in fire. Some say in ice.”
I say the world will end a long time before Granny learns how to use that dang computer device.
Michael M. DeWitt, Jr. is the managing editor of The Hampton County Guardian, an award-winning journalist, columnist and outdoor writer who has been published in South Carolina Wildlife, Sporting Classics, and the author of two books.
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