Remembering the Caveman

Dad and I were business partners for almost 10 years before he retired. That meant a lot of time together, phone calls (early am and late pm) and shared stories. But one of my favorite memories was Dad and his first computer.

When we first started working together in 1995 he didn’t have a computer. A lot of people didn’t. Real estate brokers in those days used contracts where each page had four carbon-type sheets so when you entered the contract info it transferred to each sheet. Most realtors hand wrote in the information. Dad – ever the perfectionist – would load those sheets into his IBM Selectric typewriter and type the contracts because he said they looked more professional. I personally think it was because no one could read his handwriting!

Around this time computer programs started coming out that would allow you to draft contracts on a computer and print them out for signatures. It was slick! No more poor handwriting issues. No more crossed out and initialed mistakes. No more needing to print extremely hard to get the words to transfer to all four sheets. I was in real estate heaven! So Dad and I went to Best Buy and picked up a couple Packard Bell computers – now those were some real beauties (insert sarcastic smirk).

A few days later I walked into Dad’s office and there he was, pecking away at the typewriter. I couldn’t believe it. Why would he be drafting a contract on the IBM when he had that sleek Packard Bell available? I blurted out, “Dad, you really are a caveman using that typewriter. Why don’t you come into the present and use the computer?” Dad’s response: “I can’t remember how to get to the contract program.”

“But, Caveman, we’ve been through this 17 times already.”

“So make it 18 and we’ll see if it sticks.”

At that moment the “Caveman” nickname was born. And it was right then I realized that Dad did not “get” the computer as quickly as I did.

Time to have some fun.

One of my younger siblings who was still living at home had helped Dad put a screen saver on the computer. You know the scrolling marquee screen saver that lets you input the text of your choice? Dad’s said “Go Falcons” in honor of his beloved Air Force Academy. While he was out of the office, I changed the text to “This is Caveman’s computer – now point me to the typewriter!”

About an hour later I got the phone call. He was laughing, but got a little ticked when I wouldn’t tell him how to change it! So for the next three weeks I’d leave new “Caveman” messages on the screen saver every few days and each time I could hardly wait to get his amused and irritated response.

I miss those moments. Dad would’ve been 73 today.

Love you Caveman.